Leo Chen, President of Huawei Sub Saharan Africa
Huawei has successfully held the Fusion Solar Forum 2023 at the sidelines of the Africa Solar Show 2023 last week in Johannesburg. Industry associations, sector organisations, industry leaders and experts gathered to share industry trends and insights and presented innovative solutions and best practices which will contribute to the development of the industry on the continent.
Leo Chen, President of Huawei Sub Saharan Africa, said that the quest for global carbon neutrality, energy security, and commercial value are driving the rapid development of a new international energy industry. The urgency of Africa’s own transition is being accelerated by power shortages and rising energy prices. Leo Chen indicated that in facing these challenges, Huawei as a leading ICT company, can be part of the solution. “With a heavy investment in R&D, we’ve developed the most comprehensive set of technologies in ICT, and this forms our unique advantage.”
He said that by integrating power electronic and digital technologies, Huawei’s ‘4T’ (WatT, HeaT, BatTery, and BiT) technologies, which refers to Huawei’s innovations in the field of power electronics, thermal management, power storage, and Cloud and AI, can enable the traditional solar energy industry to be more efficient and more intelligent.
“The application of our “4T” technologies, will also effectively accelerate Africa’s energy transition toward the direction of ‘4D’, which is Decarbonisation, Digitalisation, Decentralisation, and Democratisation,” he said.
Huawei’s full-scenario smart PV solutions not only can provide solutions to utility-scale large plants, but also to energy storage facilities, commercial and industrial (C&I) rooftops, residential rooftops, data centres, and smart microgrids in rural areas. By doing this, more flexible energy generation solutions that are close to the point of use can be applied and the transmission and distribution setup can be minimised, thus saving costs and losses. Through this approach, power consumers can be transformed into power producers, which helps to achieve better power resilience for users and the whole society.
South Africa’s Electricity Minister Dr. Kgosientso Ramakgopa gave a keynote address at the forum, and commended Huawei for the role it is playing in infrastructure development in Africa and in greening South Africa’s energy systems. “Huawei is brining technological advancements and innovations that help us keep pace with the developed and industrialised countries in the global north,” he said.
He indicated that his role as the electricity minister involves working with the private sector, including Huawei, to address the power deficit issue and boost a digital and sustainable future for South Africa.
He said, “The South African government is looking for blended financial facilities for the funding of alternative energy installations, making it more accessible to more people. At the same time, the government will also broaden the flow of participation by upskilling people in the technology of renewable energy systems.”
Chen Guoguang, President of Huawei Smart PV Product Line said that, with Huawei’s innovative solutions, it has achieved a very impressive carbon footprint globally. “By the end of 2022, Huawei Digital Power has helped our customers to offset 340 million tons of CO2 emissions, roughly the same as planting 470 million trees,” he said.
John van Zuylen, CEO of AFSIA (Africa Solar Industry Association), presented on the rapid adoption of solar technologies on the African continent, where almost every country now has some solar capacity. With power storage options becoming more accessible and more affordable, AFSIA predicts that Africa will soon outstrip other regions in its use of solar power supply. Huawei technologies currently powers 25% of the world’s PV capacity, and so the company is well positioned to play a growing role on the continent.
In her presentation, CEO of the SAPVIA (The South African Photovoltaic Industry Association), Dr Rethabile Melamu, stressed the need to skill young South Africans to participate and take full advantage of the huge opportunities in this industry. “Huawei’s skills development initiative is incredible and we are partnering with them to make sure we get more young people skilled and accredited for the sector,” she said.
In addition, industry players also shared their experiences. For example, Bui Power Plant in Ghana shared the latest insights into PV and energy storage trends in their organisations and how Huawei technologies are contributing to their success.
In conclusion, Leo Chen expressed Huawei’s commitment to Africa. He said, working with various partners, “over the past two decades, Huawei has brought ubiquitous connectivity to Africa. In the next two decades, Huawei is aiming to bring ubiquitous green power to the continent.”