Turkey: Future Of Solar Energy – OpEd


Total installed power in Turkey country is expected to b 82GWe by the end of 2017. We expected that the share of renewable energy plants in total production would increase over time, and that he share of imported and fossil fuels woud decrease, and the import and fossil fuel dependency would decrease. That, however, was not so.

It is estimated that the total installed capacity of solar power generating power plants will reach 2400 MWe by the end of 2017. Total licensed solar projects during the year was 52 MW.

This amount could be taken into operation as 13 MW, the remaining are on hold. Non-licensed projects are too many in numbers, whereas the licensed projects are very few. We have made the license procedures so hard that nobody wants licensed business. The investors prefer to form dozens or even hundreds of companies each with 1-MWe capacities and connect them.

Solar investment costs are now very low. In 2005, incentives were introduced by Law No. 5346. Guaranteed sale prices then were at 5.00-5.50 EuroCent per KWhour in 2005, while it is at $Cent 13.30 per KWhour in 2010. Solar maps were released.

Transmission capacities were determined. In 2014-2015, 6 different tenders were released and 600 MW new solar capacity was created. In 2017, a new solar capacity of 1000 MWe was created through the competitive renewables tender.

Solar cells and panel prices have been excessive cheaper. in time. By the end of 2017, 24-25 $ Cent per Wp prices were received. Import incentives given by the Ministry of Economy to solar panel imports in 2012 were deleted in 2016. In 2016, domestic production could be replied in the amount demanded by the internal market. With Anti -dumping and additional VAT application, foreign panel import prices have reached to 60 $ Cent per Wp level. Then domestic producers have increased their prices to 50 $ Cent per Wp to take advantage of the market prices.

In 2014-2015, transmission authority opened 6 tenders and allocated Solar projects to 49 companies with a total capacity of 600MW. Companies have committed to pay TL 1.23 billion of contribution to the allocation. The two companies have completed their operations and have been operating the solar investments at a capacity of 13 MW. The other companies received the incentive certificates at a capacity of 120 MW, but due to cost increases, the remaining 480 MW capacity projects were locked and are on hold. Because the conditions before the tender were changed after the tender. Initially there were incentives, then incentives were unfairly removed.

In 2010, the new renewables law set the electricity purchase price for Solar investments as 13.30 $Cents per KWh for 10 years.

The winner of the 1000 MWe renewable Solar bid in 2017 reduced this price to 6.99 $Cent per KWh.

The winning group accepted local investment for 500 MWe per yr production capacity and 500 million US$ investment- budgeted production facility in the country.

On the other hand, in 2017 we observed similar tenders abroad.

In Saudi Arabia, the price is 1.79 $cents per KWh, in Germany 4.30 EuroCent, 2.10 $Cents in Chile and 1.77 $cents in Mexico. We are observing big discounts on Solar tenders. However, the Ministry of Economy tax collection efforts deter our investors.
On the other hand, we have gone so difficult as to license the work, that everyone is trying to invest under unlicensed 1-MW projects. In 2005, unit MW cost solar investment was 4,000 US Dollars, while in 2017 Solar investment cost per unit KW decreased to 700-800 US Dollars. In 2017, market observes only 13 MW licensed solar, whereas unlicensed solar at 2400 MW. Public regulatory authorities were a bit indifferent at the beginning, but when they enter the system, the investors regret their applications.

For example, they may ask to use 50% of the electricity produced in investors auto consumption. Continuous storage may be required. They may limit the possession of company shares.

Solar sector currently employs around 20-thousand workers. Currently, 26 different enterprises assemble with Solar PV panels. The majority of fabricators are undergoing simple construction, cabling, framing work, whereas 75-80% of total investment is still imported. The actual production renewable coverage will be made at the last 1000 MW renewable facilities. Others will finish their work in their hands and close their businesses. Then 20-thousand people could be unemployed.

On the other hand, in the recent solar facilities in operation, installed power loss is observed to be 20-25% within a few months.

At home scale roof-top solar installation should be well examined. House sizes are limited to 10kW capacity, that is not feasible. On top roof of existing structures, an additional load of 25 kg per square meter is to be added. The current roof structures are not enough to carry this additional load. The duration of use of summer houses are 3-4 months, and the roof Solar investment return is not enough for this period. Billing is difficult to deduct. There is a high risk of fire, so insurance coverage is difficult.

There are those who bring the fertile agricultural land to the barren land by saying that they will build a solar energy plant. Let them have God to show them the right way.

There are three different associations in the local solar market, GÜNDER, GENSED, GÜYAD. Why are there three separate associations? Why is not there one single association to cover all interest groups? This is another important question. We started with good intentions, but we have a lot of work to do.

Haluk Direskeneli

Haluk Direskeneli, is a graduate of METU Mechanical Engineering department (1973). He worked in public, private enterprises, USA Turkish JV companies (B&W, CSWI, AEP, Entergy), in fabrication, basic and detail design, marketing, sales and project management of thermal power plants. He is currently working as freelance consultant/ energy analyst with thermal power plants basic/ detail design software expertise for private engineering companies, investors, universities and research institutions. He is a member of Chamber of Turkish Mechanical Engineers Energy Working Group.

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