Turkey’s first integrated solar panel facility opened in Ankara

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Turkey opened its first integrated solar panel facility in Ankara’s Başkent Organized Industrial Zone in a high-profile ceremony held on Aug. 19.

The $400-million Solar Technologies Factory was built by Turkish energy and construction giant Kalyon Holding, winner of the tender in 2017.

“Within this facility, Turkey’s solar panels designed by Turkish engineers will be manufactured,” Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak said at the opening ceremony yesterday.

“Turkey has come to a position to produce renewable energy technology,” he said, adding that the country will start exporting solar panels instead of importing them.

“We will achieve the dream of economic full independency as in the energy sector…With a model based on value added production, employment and exports, our economy will be the guarantor of a more prosperous Turkey and its future,” said Albayrak.

Established in the capital Ankara’s Başkent Organized Industrial Zone, the factory will employ some 1,500 workers and engineers, Industry and Technology Minister Mustafa Varank told private broadcaster CNN Türk during the ceremony.

“While trying to decrease external dependency in energy and lower money paid for fossil fuels, Turkey has seen an extra burden on its current account deficit because of imported equipment used in renewable energy projects. We wil fill that current account gap with this factory,” he said.

The plant, which will manufacture ingot, wafer, module and cell units with a capacity of 500 megawatts per year, is expected to prevent $100 million worth of solar panel imports per year, according to Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Dönmez.

“We have opened fields to energy investments on conditions of domestic production, domestic engineering workforce, domestic research and development activities and innovation,” he said in a speech at the ceremony.

The first solar panel units produced in the factory will be used at the Karapınar Renewable Energy Resources Zone Project in the Central Anatolian province of Konya.

The Karapınar solar energy facility was constructed by Kalyon Holding in collaboration with China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (CETC). The $1 billion facility will start operating in September and it will produce 2.6 billion kilowatt-hour electricity after reaching full capacity in 33 months, according to Dönmez.

He added that the facility will increase solar energy’s share in energy generation 25 percent.

Turkey produced 62.08 percent of its electricity from local and renewable sources in the first seven months of 2020, according to the data from the Energy and Natural Resources Ministry.

The country’s total electricity production hit 162.13 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity from January to July. Share of natural gas stood at 17 percent. Imported coal had a share of 20.87 percent and domestic coal with 14.89 percent.

In the same period, hydro ranked first in the electricity production with 33.25 percent share and wind’s share was around 9 percent.

‘BEST for Energy’ kickstarts in İzmir

Meanwhile, the Boosting Effective and Sustainable Transformation for Energy (BEST) project, with an approximate 3 million-euro budget, kickstarted in Turkey’s western province of İzmir to develop a competitive cluster in clean and renewable energy.

“The three-year project in İzmir focuses on renewable energy and in particular on efficiently manufacturing equipment for the production of renewable energy and related services,” Michael Dan, the project’s team leader, told Anadolu Agency on Aug. 18.

İzmir Development Agency (IZKA) in partnership with the Association of Energy Industrialists and Businessmen (ENSİA) is running the project, which is funded by the European Commission and Turkey’s Industry and Technology Ministry.

Project activities will focus on the value chain and cluster analysis for clean energy, the preparation of development strategies and action plan and cluster promotion and internationalization, with technical support supplied by a consortium led by international development company, DAI Human Dynamics.

“Essentially what we are trying to do is to apply a cluster approach and to improve the cooperation between companies, agencies, universities resulting in better exports and more growth,” Dan said.

Hurriyet Daily News

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