The African continent faces a massive energy challenge although it is richly endowed with renewable energy sources. According to the international energy agency, around 580 million people in sub-Saharan Africa lacked access to electricity in 2019, three-quarters of the global total, while renewable energy is expected to contribute 22% of Africa’s total energy consumption by 2030.
To ensure sufficient, affordable, reliable energy supply for individuals, businesses, and communities, renewable energy in the continent should be accelerated.
“There is still a massive gap to be bridged. However, the traditional energy infrastructure operation mode cannot meet the new challenges brought by the latest development in the digital world. Digital and intelligent technologies can be of great help to ensure we provide sufficient electricity to every African household and business,” said Huang Su, Director of Huawei Southern Africa Digital Power Business.
The cost of PV power generation has fallen sharply over the past decade. In most countries, traditional energy grids costs a lot more than PV electricity. This offers Africa an opportunity to harness its abundant potential of increasingly cost-competitive renewable energy to meet the growing demand for electricity and pursue a climate-friendly, needs-oriented power strategy.
As Huang points out, renewable energy is much cheaper than fossil-fuel-based options, with a kilowatt-hour of solar power costing much cheaper. Solar power should play a large role in the world’s future power mix.
In order to achieve this, Huawei says it is introducing digital power solutions driven by digital technologies.The essence of digital power is integrating cloud, AI, and other digital technologies with power generation, storage and consumption.
Huawei says it has deployed its smart PV solution in more than 60 countries generating more than 300 billion kWH of green electricity, to power residents and industries globally.
“All ICT requires power supply and our efforts in the solar PV space are simply an extension of that. As we are good at Bits, so we basically try to add Bit streams on the top of Watt streams, and use bits to manage the Watt,” Huang says.
Huawei is looking to deploy more scalable power stations over time. The company says the power stations can be managed and maintained online to reduce carbon footprint.