Below are the excerpts of our recent interview with Mr. Alex He , General Manager of India market, Huawei
Let’s start with your company’s presence in India.
This year Huawei signed a 500MW contract with Adani Group. In 2015, we signed a 100 MW contract with Waaree. We see India an essential inverter market. Our goal is 1.2 GW this year. And we expect to bring more advanced and useful products and solutions to the Indian market to contribute to the prosperity of the PV industry in India.
What are the different products and services you offer in the Indian market?
We provide string inverter to the Indian market. The string inverter design is not simply ideal for rooftops but also widely adopted by large-scale PV plants. It has been highly recognized by the public. In addition, we have compared the two solutions from different aspects. The string inverter design has better performance in view of safety, yields, system cost, installation, O&M, monitoring, environmental adaptability, and grid connection. It is tested and proved not simply in theory but also in the practical application from customers' projects. Our string inverters and solution have been widely applied in a single project over 50 MW both in China and overseas markets.
India has tropical extreme climate with high temperature and dampness. There is also a long rainy season. Huawei fully closed design inverter with IP65 protection guarantees the long term operation with safety and reliability. Multiple MPP trackers enable high accuracy detection and improve the yields by over 3%. Our smart PV inverters become the brain of the plant, realizing smart operation and maintenance with digital information and internet technology.
Being a leading manufacturer in the global PV inverter industry what makes your product offering different from others?
Firstly, our advantage is excellent products and solutions, which is the fundamental of our success. Huawei has over 176,000 employees, 79,000 out of which are R&D staffs. In fact, last year 15.1% of revenue had been invested into R&D. In the past 10 years, we invested more than 37 billion US dollars in research and development.
In the field of photovoltaic, we take the customer demand as the starting point, continuous technology innovation. We integrate digital information technology, Internet technology and photovoltaic technology, which has made a series of core technology breakthroughs, such as natural cooling technology, PLCC technology, smart IV curve diagnosis, automatically cloud O&M and so on.
These core technologies come from us our long-term accumulation and the focusing strategy.
We focus on the PV plant core module inverter and O&M system Research & Development and sales, as well as the automation, information and intelligence of photovoltaic power plants, and take the leading position of smart PV solutions. According to IHS and GTM Research report, in 2015, Huawei inverter shipments ranked global No.1.
The second advantage is our excellent service, which is the foundation of our success.
Service reflects both in after-sale and pre-sale. We have a professional pre-sale team with employees from sales, product solutions as well as the technical support department.
They can help the owner or EPC to integrate and optimize the PV plant system and components, such as modelling the power station together, designing the smart PV solution, optimizing AC/DC ratio, string configuration and system layout which can create the highest yields for customers by improving quality, raising power generations and decreasing initial investment.
In the after-sales service, our string inverter has the characteristic of easy delivery and smart O&M. Huawei has a large platform with many access points to both our products and service team.
We will have our unified CALL CENTER, full-time service team, spare parts warehouse as well as channels for distributors in India to consistently provide customers’ service and raise customers’ value.The third advantage is the construction of smart PV ecological chain, which is our strong driving force for sustainable development.
PV projects have the whole process of project financing, operation and maintenance. PV plants are unable to realize maximum yields in investment if a company only provides products without cooperation with up and down stream enterprises.
Because we focus on the strategy of "what can do and what can’t do", we insist on concentrating all our strengths on inverters and management centre. We get win-win cooperation with our partners under the principle of not involving into the era of development of power station, not competing for customer resource and interests.
Through the establishment of photovoltaic ecosystem as "open to a smart PV world", we have combined a large number of leading manufacturers and partners in the world in sharing resources, having complementary advantages as well as win-win cooperation.
In India, we will centre on this concept not only in the residential market, but also in commercial market as well as large ground station market, we will work jointly with our partners to devote ourselves to build a healthy intelligence ecosphere.
In conclusion, the above three points, are our distinctive advantages comparing with other companies. And these are also the key points for us to success in India market in the future. We are confident and determined to have the ability, through our efforts, together with our partners, to make greater contribution and create more value to the Indian PV market.
What have been the latest technology trends in solar inverter market globally & in India?
No more than 3 years ago, central inverters were seen as the one and only choice for ground-mounted plants, and string inverters were only applied in distributed scenarios like rooftops. But now, as Huawei introduced FusionSolar smart PV solution to the global market, more and more clients have turned to string inverters for large-scale projects, since they were aware of a much more efficient and reliable PV solution at the same cost with their traditional choice. That’s also why Huawei became No.1 in global inverter shipment in such a short period. In the future, it is clearly predicted that string inverter will take the large portion of the market, because owners hope to construct PV plants with higher efficiency, more flexibility and less O&M problems, and Huawei FusionSolar Smart PV solution perfectly matches these requirements with equivalent cost.
Another major trend will be large-scale O&M process. As smart PV industry becomes more and more capital intensive, large players began to take control of the market. In India, for example, top 10 players own over 80% of the capacity, spreading all over the country from Kolkata to Cochin. Thus, smart PV solutions and O&M management systems that can remote control multiple plants and handle large amount of data analysis simultaneously will undoubtedly prevail in the coming years.
A brief on your growth in the past year and some milestones you wish to achieve this year.
I am very pleased to grow together with Huawei solar inverter department and witness the global success of our smart solution. Last year we achieved 10.5GW global shipment, 100MW from Indian market. Moreover, we established our brand awareness throughout India, attracting more and more customers to actively contact us for cooperation. I hope in this year we can harvest from our hard work in the past years, and achieve a flourish annual result. The 500MW contract with Adani Group has given us enough confidence to believe that Huawei will become the top 5 suppliers in India market this year, and that the market share will exceed 1.2GW in the coming years.
What have been the latest trends in demand for Solar Inverter market in India? Where do you see the next demand growth coming from?
Customers are now looking for smart inverters that can actually “think”, and assists the data collection and analysis process to give quicker yet more accurate response for troubleshooting. Another opportunity lies in safety. Due to the hot weather and sandy climate, we have seen many cases of inverter burning, causing great financial loss and troubleshooting problems. If any supplier can provide high-efficiency inverters that can withstand severe surrounding environments, they can definitely become a strong and competitive player in Indian market.