Huawei Predicts 10 Trends in Smart PV for 2025

PVTIME - Over the next 5 to 10 years, renewable energy will assume a more
prominent role as a main power source for power grids. Solar power, in
particular, as the most noteworthy form of renewable energy, has a particularly
bright future. However, as renewable represents a greater proportion of total
energy production, ensuring safety, reliability, and cost-effectiveness across
power generation assets will become the upmost priority.

With the rapid development of emerging ICT technologies,
such as AI, cloud, big data, and 5G, and in full consideration of the latest
trends in power electronics technology, Huawei has engaged with experts in
the field and has released 10 emerging technical trends for smart PV in 2025.
These trends encompass four dimensions: lower levelized cost of electricity
(LCOE), power grid friendliness, intelligent convergence, and security and
trustworthiness.
The trends aim to drive the industry toward intelligent,
green solutions, and provide insight into innovation and soaring growth in the
new energy industry.

Trend 1: Digitalization

Key point: More than 90% of
global PV plants will be digitalized.

Despite the booming global PV market, there are still many
dumb devices in PV plants, from power generation to communications. These
devices cannot be effectively monitored, nor can they provide fault alarm. With
the rapid development of digital technologies such as 5G and cloud, it is
expected that more than 90% of PV plants will be fully digitalized by 2025,
making it possible for PV plants to be simple, intelligent, and efficient
management.

Trend 2: AI-driven Smart Upgrades

Key point: Over 70% PV
plants will apply AI techniques.

The in-depth integration of AI and PV will facilitate
mutual sensing and interconnection between devices, and will improve power
generation and O&M efficiency through collaborative optimization. AI
techniques can offer promising new avenues for PV systems, including: proactive
identification and protection of PV module and device faults with AI diagnosis
algorithms; tracker algorithm optimization with massive plant data and
self-learning for higher yields; and AI-aided solar-storage synergy to
automatically optimize PV-storage plant revenue. As LCOE continues to decrease
and O&M complexity increases, AI techniques will be highly likely to widely
apply in PV plants.

Trend 3: Unmanned PV Plants

Key point: More than 80% of
the work in PV plants will be unmanned.

With the ascendance of AI and the Internet of Things (IoT),
intelligent products and services will bring convenience to the whole PV
solution. With integrated expert experiences and continuous self-learning, AI
will be widely deployed to replace O&M experts in many diagnostic and
decision-making functions. Drone inspection and robot-based automatic O&M
will handle dangerous and repetitive O&M work that requires a continual
high degree of accuracy, for enhanced productivity and safety in PV plants. As
is estimated, it is expected that PV plants in the future will be fully
unmanned.

Trend 4: Proactive Support for Power Grids

Key point: PV plants
will shift from grid-adapting to grid-supporting.

The increasing penetration level of
power-electronic-interfaced energy will undermine power grid strength,
hindering the broader application of PV systems. Over the next 5 years, PV
plants must gradually evolve from adapting to the power grid, to supporting the
power grid. To this end, inverters should possess capabilities such as wide
short circuit ratio (SCR) adaptability, capability to control harmonic current
within 1%, consecutive high/low voltage ride-through, and fast frequency
regulation, which are necessary for grid connection.

Trend 5: Solar + Storage

Key point: The proportion of
PV systems coupled with energy storage will exceed 30%.

With the greater penetration of new energy sources, power
grids will have increasingly stringent requirements for frequency regulation
and peak shaving. In the meantime, battery costs are decreasing with technology
advancement. It is projected that energy storage will work in tandem with PV
systems, and become a critical component. Projections indicate that by 2025,
the proportion of PV systems with energy storage will exceed 30%.

Trend 6: Virtual Power Plants

Key point: More than 80% of
residential systems will connect to Virtual Power Plant (VPP) networks.

Over the next 5 years, ICT technologies, such as 5G,
blockchain, and cloud services, will be widely applied in distributed power
plants, forming VPPs for collaborative management, and participating in the
scheduling, transaction, and auxiliary services for power systems. The
development of VPP technology will inspire new business models and attract new
market players in distributed PV scenarios, serving as an engine of growth for
distributed PV.

Trend 7: Active Safety

Key point: Arc-fault
circuit interrupter (AFCI) will become a must-have feature in distributed PV
rooftop systems, and will be incorporated into international industry
standards.

With the broader application of distributed PV, building
and personal safety has become a major concern. PV arcing risks caused by the
poor contact of nodes in PV modules, poor connections from PV connectors, or
aged or broken cables, have become a pressing matter in the industry. To
mitigate such risks, AFCI will become a standard function for distributed PV
rooftop systems, and will be incorporated into international industry
standards.

Trend 8: Higher Power Density

Key point: Inverter power
density will increase by more than 50%.

With the trend of lower LCOE of solar, there calls higher
requirements in higher power of a single module and easy inverter maintenance.
To achieve this, higher power density is required. With breakthroughs in
research of wide-bandgap semiconductors, such as SiC and GaN, as well as
advanced control algorithms, inverter power density is expected to increase by
more than 50% in the next 5 years.

Trend 9: Modular Design

Key point: Core components
such as inverters, PCS and energy storage devices will adopt modular design.

Inverters, PCSs, and energy storage devices are key
components in a PV plant, which greatly affect the availability of the entire
PV plant system. As the capacity and complexity of PV plants increase, the
traditional, expert-driven approach for onsite maintenance will be too costly.
Modular design will become mainstream, as it enables flexible deployment,
smooth expansion, and expert-free maintenance, greatly reducing O&M costs
and improving system availability.

Trend 10: Security and Trustworthiness

Key point: Security and
Trustworthiness has become a necessary requirement for PV plants.

The increase in the cumulative capacity of global PV
plants, and greater complexity of network architecture, which makes the network
security risks of PV plants increasing. In addition, there are more stringent
requirements for user privacy and security for distributed PV plants. All these
trends suggest that PV plants need to possess security and trustworthiness
capabilities in terms of reliability, availability, security, safety,
resilience, and privacy.

Our common desire to explore as human beings, knows no
limits. We are always looking to soar to new heights, plunge to deeper depths,
and seek out new truths. The convergence of 5G, cloud, and AI technologies is
shaping a world where everything is sensed, connected, and intelligent at a
speed faster than we think. By listing the top 10 trends for the PV industry
for 2025, Huawei hopes to play its part in inspiring the creation of a green,
intelligent world, in which the boundless potential of new energy solutions can
be broadly shared across society.

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