Huawei Technologies Co., China’s biggest maker of phone-network equipment, said it plans to ship 4 gigawatts of solar inverters this year, tapping its own telecommunications technology to improve the devices
The company started the business last year and shipped about a gigawatt of products globally in the first half, Xu Yingtong, general manager of the smart photovoltaic power business at Huawei, said yesterday in an interview in Beijing.
Typical inverters convert direct current to alternating current for supply to the electricity grid. Huawei is adding so-called “smart” features to solar inverters, including digital data collection and analysis, according to Xu.
Huawei has entered the business as 45 gigawatts of solar power may be added this year around the world, 12 percent more than a year earlier, Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimates. The move puts it in competition with Germany’s SMA Solar Technology AG., the world’s biggest maker of the products, and Sungrow Power Supply Co. of China.
“Huawei may challenge Sungrow’s market share in China,” said Han Weiqi, a Shanghai-based analyst at CSC International Holdings Ltd. Sungrow, with shipments of 3.5 gigawatts in 2013, has about a 29 percent share of the domestic market, he said.
Huawei in March forecast a 10 percent increase in sales this year from 239 billion yuan ($39 billion) in 2013. Net income for 2013 was a record 21 billion yuan, and 36 percent higher than it reported the previous year.
Germany’s SMA said yesterday that it will cut jobs and that operating profit will “break even at best” this year, compared with an earlier forecast of as much as 20 million euros. It cited a fall in demand in Europe and “cut-throat competition.” The company will use low-cost Chinese unit Zeversolar to tap rising China demand and compete with local producers Sungrow and TBEA Co.
Huawei, meantime, is working with China’s main solar power plant investors and operators including China Power Investment Corp., CGN Solar Energy Development Co., China Three Gorges New Energy Co., Yingli Green Energy Holding Co. United Photovoltaics Group Ltd. and GCL Group, Xu said.
“Demand will be quite positive” from August in China, Xie Jian, president of JA Solar Holdings Co., said in an interview earlier this month. He expects China to install 12 gigawatts of solar power this year.
— With assistance by Feifei Shen