Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies announced its entry into the Israeli solar energy market on Wednesday, one day after confirming the closure of its solar operations in the United States.
Huawei, the world’s leading inverter supplier, has signed an agreement with Zing Energy – which represents the Chinese company in Israel – to install solar inverters in several 30-megawatt solar farm projects across the country.
Solar inverters are a critical instrument for the conversion of DC power produced by solar panels into AC power, suitable for the electric grid.
Kenneth Frey, a Huawei solar inverter department director based in Germany, arrived in Israel on Tuesday to visit solar energy projects in the country. The company said he would be meeting energy industry representatives and local solar energy companies.
On Tuesday, the Chinese company confirmed that it was shutting down its solar energy business selling inverters in the United States, amid the ongoing US-China trade war and growing opposition from both the White House and members of Congress.
“Over the past several months, we have been compelled to make moves to more closely align our business strategy with the unwelcoming climate being fostered in the United States,” a Huawei spokesperson told The Financial Times.
“After careful review of our operations in the United States, we have made the tough decision to eliminate several positions within our US representative office.”
In February, a bipartisan group of senators urged the US government to block Huawei from supplying solar energy generators just as it has acted to keep the Chinese giant out of the US telecommunications network.
“Both large-scale photovoltaic systems and those used by homeowners, school districts and businesses are equally vulnerable to cyberattacks. Our federal government should consider a ban on the use of Huawei inverters in the United States,” the lawmakers said in a letter.
Washington has sought to exclude Huawei from providing equipment like routers and switches to US telecommunications companies, and has accused the firm of conspiring to violate US sanctions on Iran and stealing American technology.
Chinese companies have shown growing interest in the Israeli energy market in recent years. In April 2016, a consortium including SinoHydro, a subsidiary of state-owned PowerChina, was awarded a contract to construct a 344-MW capacity hydroelectric pumped-storage power station at Kokhav Hayarden in the Jordan Valley, adjacent to Kibbutz Gesher.
SinoHydro and fellow Chinese company Pan-Mediterranean Engineering Company (PMEC), currently constructing Ashdod’s new HaDarom Port, declared their interest in the construction of giant desalination plant, Sorek 2, but were unsuccessful in the recent tender.
Three bidders – IDE Technologies, Hutchison Water and a consortium of Afcon, Acciona and Allied Investments – remain in the running for construction of the facility.