Huawei on importance of energy storage for Africa’s development


Zhao Tianqi (Tom), VP of Huawei South Africa Digital Power

JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) -THE just-concluded Solar Power Africa conference highlighted the role solar storage solutions have to play in driving economic development across Africa.

In a sub-forum at the event, Huawei underlined the growing importance of residential solar photovoltaic (PV) in addressing South Africa’s energy needs, and how homeowners can contribute to reducing the demand on the power grid.

Additionally, they contribute to balancing the power grid, enhancing energy efficiency and reducing electricity costs.

Despite the significant potential of energy storage systems in South Africa, safety concerns remain. These systems involve electrical equipment and battery technology, and improper installation or maintenance may lead to risks such as fires, electrical hazards and even adverse environmental impacts.

In challenging electricity environment like South Africa’s, ensuring the safety of energy storage systems is crucial for providing a reliable power supply.

Zhao Tianqi (Tom), Vice President of Huawei South Africa Digital Power, addressed the energy industry’s shift from natural resources to technological innovation.

South Africa, he said, is well positioned to take advantage of this push, particularly with so many homes and businesses willing to embrace solar PV technology.

“We could achieve carbon neutrality in South Africa even faster than our estimation. So maybe South Africa can be a champion in this field,” Tianqi said.

He added, however, that if this is to happen, the right equipment and technology will be vital.

Huawei is advancing the solar PV space is by including a PV optimiser in its newly launched Luna2.0 solution. This allows users of the system to get 15 percent more usable energy, meaning a better return on investment for customers.

The system, also allows users to mix old and new batteries, extending the lifespan of their system and saving them money.

The Fusionsolar Residential Luna2.0 solution will be available to trade partners and installers from March 2024.

Herman Fourie, Senior Solutions Manager, Digital Power South Africa pointed out, a large reason why Huawei is able to offer additional protections to its customers is because of its commitment to high-quality engineering talent wherever it operates.

He explained Huawei has baked safety into the aesthetic design of the Fusionsolar Luna2.0 solution, most notably by excluding features that wear easily, such as buttons and LCD screens.

It also offers a full ten-year replacement guarantee on all parts within the system.”

Fourie added that this commitment to engineering and design excellence is visible across the entire Huawei Digital Power product line.

“We offer a wide range of ESS solutions ranging from PowerS to Luna to our Luna 1MW and 2MW blocks,” Fourie said.

“These solutions are again based on our modular approach with which we can build up to hundreds of megawatts in our large ESS solutions,” he added.

De Wet Englebrecht, a firefighter and CEO of Fire Ops SA, pointed out, the focus on safety is critical as solar PV installations come with fire risks, both from the panels and the batteries.

“As firefighters, we’ve certainly seen an increase in residential fires in South Africa,” he said.

“We are dispatched to between two and four fires on a daily basis. On average, every sixth one of those is solar related.”

The fire suppression on the Luna2.0 solution, he added, could go a long way in preventing and mitigating these kinds of fires.

Fire safety is not the only issue that comes with energy storage solutions.

Kadri Nassiep, Executive Director (Energy) at City of Cape Town, pointed out, they can also cause grid issues.

“The instant charging of inverter batteries when the power comes back on after a period of load shedding can destabilise the grid in secondary trips in the city’s electricity system,” Nassiep explained.

Charl Gous, CEO of renewable energy specialist Aces Africa, said dealers and installers also have a role to play in ensuring that their customers have the best possible solutions for their homes and for the grid.

“One of the biggest problems that we have at the moment is that the South African market has always been driven by price,” he said.

“So, what people will do is mix and match a battery with an inverter to try and bring down the price,” Gous added.

– CAJ News

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