Turkey: Record 1 GW solar project – but still gloomy prospects for PV investments

3/21/17, 8:54 AM -

Yesterday a joint venture formed by Kalyon Enerji and Hanwha Q Cells won the tender to build a 1 GW solar power plant in in Turkey. All components that will be used in this project must be manufactured locally. Companies like Jinko Solar and Schneider Electric are skeptical though about the perspectives of the Turkish photovoltaic market due to import restrictions and regulatory uncertainties.

Jinko Solar is affected negatively by import restrictions for solar modules to Turkey.
Jinko Solar expects solar module shipments of around 150-200 MW to Turkey this year.

The bid of the winning tender by Kalyon Enerji and Hanwha Q CELLS is 6,99 USD/kWh. According to the tender rules, this price will be valid for 15 years and companies have 30 years of usage rights. Also all components that will be used in this project must be manufactured locally. Minimum 500 MW/year local ingot to module line is mandatory. The 500 MW factory has to be operational within 21 months. The 1 GW domestic solar power plant in the Karapınar region has to operate within 36 months.

Renewable Energy Resources Zone framework

The tender was held under the Renewable Energy Resources Zone framework. So far Turkey has no solar cell production. As of the end of February 2017 Turkey's solar power capacity was 899 MW. “The fact that a plant of this scale, which could not yet be achieved in any other country in the world, will be built in Turkey together with the significant amount of foreign investment in high technology in Turkey indicate the degree of confidence in the future of the Turkish economy”, International Solar Energy Society’s Turkey Division (GUNDER) President Kutay Kaleli said.

Jinko Solar affected by import restrictions

Other solar companies are not so enthusiastic though about the PV market and investment perspectives in Turkey. Challenges are bureaucracy, political unstabilty, anti-dumping investigation for Chinese modules, import restrictions and finance, Arda Kristaporyan Country Manager Turkey of Jinko Solar told pv Europe. “Even we are trying hard, we don't have a import license yet which is granted by European and American brands so far for certain quantity”, Kristaporyan said. As regulatory uncertainties he sees also planned inspection taxes and a five-fold increase of grid transmission fees. For this year Kristaporyan still expects module shipments of around 150-200 MW of Jinko Solar to Turkey.

Schneider Electric sees legislative barriers

“Although the recent economic and political developments seem to have some negative effects on Solar Investments, we have more issues on the legislation side. It looks Turkey has not yet clearly decided its approach towards solar Energy”, Cem Göçmen Turkey Country Sales Leader Solar Business from Schneider Electric told pv Europe.  “There are obvious moves against License Free Projects. License Market is also effected negatively by Import Supervision. One might think that the investment landscape does not give much confidence to investors, especially to foreign ones. I also accept that under these circumstances it is not easy for anyone (investor, supplier, developer etc,) to build mid-long term plans”, he says.
“However, Turkey always finds a solution. Solution might come late and might not meet the expectations perfectly, but it comes. Schneider Electric has been a strong solution partner for Electrical Industry market players  for more than 40 years in Turkey. We believe that Solar Business, together with other renewables and supporting technologies such as storage, will be the future of power sector. And we will be present at all dimensions“, Cem Göçmen says. (HCN)

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