Huawei ramps up renewables amid power crisis

Sibahle Malinga
By Sibahle Malinga, ITWeb senior news journalist.
Johannesburg, 08 Feb 2023
Xia Hesheng, president of Huawei Digital Power Sub-Saharan Africa.
Xia Hesheng, president of Huawei Digital Power Sub-Saharan Africa.

Huawei is strengthening its renewable energy strategy in South Africa and on the rest of the continent, as part of its commitments to help resolve Africa’s deepening power crisis, it says.

Delivering a keynote address this morning at the Solar Power Africa Conference 2023, in Cape Town, Xia Hesheng, president of Huawei Digital Power Sub-Saharan Africa, pointed out that more enterprises, organisations and families are actively taking action to change from being pure energy consumers, to becoming energy producers, as SA accelerates its clean energy transition.

Over the last few years, more South African businesses and homes have invested in renewable energy, to produce their own power, as the country continues to grapple with worsening load-shedding.

This has seen the Chinese telecommunications company report an uptick in its renewable energy business in SA.

As Africa urgently needs renewable energy to address its energy shortage challenges, Hesheng explained Huawei is reinforcing its solar energy strategy – which is premised on the “4T” technologies pillars.

“Worsening load-shedding and rising energy costs are seriously impacting our lives, productivity, and ability to engage meaningfully in economic activity.

“Huawei believes that what it calls ‘4T’ technologies will drive the development of Africa’s renewable energy sector: watT, heaT, baTtery and biT. Over its 25 years of operating in Sub-Saharan Africa, Huawei has a deep understanding of the region’s energy and technology requirements.

“We are committed to utilise Huawei's digital power energy technologies to build a better Africa and bring clean energy to more people, families and organisations.”

He referenced Huawei’s latest photovoltaic and green home and business solutions, highlighting the importance of utilising digital power through the integration of cloud, artificial intelligence and other innovations across the company’s energy portfolio.

According to Hesheng, Africa has rich energy resources – with African countries having more than 40% of the world's solar energy resources − yet only 1% of the installed solar capacity.

Despite this, the continent’s solar industry is witnessing growth, driven by three key factors, he added.

“Solar, as the main renewable energy, is driven by three key factors: achieving low carbonisation, digitalisation and intelligence.Renewable energy will, therefore, become the main energy resource.However, digitalisation and intelligence are all supported by computing power that consumes a huge amount of electricity, which is now driving the urgency for the development of clean energy.”

Hesheng called on every organisation to take action to transform from being energy consumers to becoming energy producers. He illustrated how Huawei is following suit, through some of the company’s renewable energy initiatives in SA.

The first is Huawei's Johannesburg campus, where all 18 buildings and parking garages are covered with solar panels, supporting a solar system which provides 1500KWh/day.

Another example is the Waterkloof Winery in Cape Town, where Huawei has worked with a local partner to provide a clean energy solution. A cluster of solar panels on the winery's roof generate 1100KWh/day of green electricity to the winery, he noted.