Taber previously worked for Huawei as a senior service engineer. He wrote in response to U.S. senators calling for a ban on Huawei inverters.
I worked with Huawei for about 18 months, and as far as distributed inverter architecture goes, they have the best platform, hands down. CPS America, ABB, SMA, Ginlong and many other suppliers utilize third-party monitoring services like AlsoEnergy. Huawei has its own platform that can perform firmware updates, parameter changes and much more on all the connected devices — up to 80, last I checked. That feature alone is a huge cost savings. It means you don’t need to spend three to seven minutes standing in front of each individual inverter. Everything is automatic.
Typically, with a rich feature set like that, there are draw backs, the first being a higher failure rate like you see in SolarEdge inverters, but Huawei didn’t have that! Usually, you have a high failure rate during commissioning and a lower failure rate after that. 90% of the failures I saw at Huawei were installation-related. I helped a solar installer commission more than 1,300 of them in North Carolina, and they love them.
The only issue is the back-end support and all the resistance Huawei has faced from the U.S. government that sullied the company’s name. Huawei was removed from AVL lists at the major utilities and has been completely shut out of the U.S. market, which is absurd, because the product is fantastic. If you brought that string inverter into the market under another name, it would outperform all the others. There’s a reason Huawei was ranked No. 1 globally by GW shipped. Its system is that good.
Nearly every other string inverter is manufactured in China, and many of them are even engineered in China as well. Couldn’t that equipment be compromised just as easily? If Google made an inverter, I bet it would collect a ton of data and send it to Google servers, but I bet we wouldn’t bat an eyelash at that practice. Same goes for Huawei, except we don’t even have any evidence that it is sending data outside of the systems configured by the installations. In fact, Huawei’s cloud-based server is a stand-alone system that it expects the installers to host themselves. Huawei won’t receive any of the data.
Huawei makes bulletproof string inverters; it was just targeted and shut down in the U.S. for political reasons. It’s a shame.