Turkey's solar market development in the coming years remains unclear, despite successful recent tender for a 1-GW capacity.
Last week, the Kalyon - Hanwha Group consortium won a tender for a 1-GW solar park, offering a power take-off price of USD 0.0699 (EUR 0.065) per kWh. The generation license will be granted for 30 years and power purchase agreement at the above mentioned price will be signed for 15 years.
However, there are strings attached and still a long way ahead before the project feeds its first electricity into the grid.
"According to the tender specifications, ingots, wafers, cells and modules shall be produced locally," the managing director of boutique advisory firm and international project development company Global Energy, Muren Guler, tells Renewables Now in an exclusive interview.
"The minimum production capacity should be 500 MWp/year and an R&D Center should be set up with 80% of the experts working there hired locally," Guler notes.
"Locally manufactured inverters are also mandatory although the exact definition of "locally-made" for this category is not very clear", he says, adding that "most likely, local assembling of inverters would be sufficient."
For the time being, the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources has announced the results of the tender. The winning consortium is yet to be invited to sign a contract for the Karapınar (or Karapinar) Renewable Energy Resource Area (or YEKA in Turkish).
"Following the signing, the winner will apply with the Energy Market Regulatory Authority ("EMRA") for pre-licence and licence for electricity generation. The consortium has to apply for the pre-license within 45 days following the signing of the contract," Guler says.
"The solar manufacturing facility should be completed within 21 months following the signing date of the agreement and the 1 GW solar power plant should be completed within 36 months following the completion of the factory (57 months in total)."
So, if the solar panel factory is completed by the end of 2019, the consortium will have 3 more years to manufacture the total capacity (500 MW yearly capacity x 2 years), install and commission the project.
"With no delays on the way, the factory could start supplying modules to other projects in the Turkish market in 2022 at the earliest, " Guler says.
“It is yet unclear how the government will support the solar market development during the transition period until locally produced panels will be in the market, ” he added.
Turkey’s installed solar power generation capacity jumped to 898.9 MW at the end of February 2017 compared to just 249 MW a little over a year ago, data by Turkey's state-run electricity transmission company TEIAS shows.
The larger majority of this capacity, 886 MW of the total, comes from unlicensed projects or about 1,120 power plants plants equal to or below 1 MW in capacity that can be installed without licensing from state energy regulator.
The sudden boom is attributed to the various amendments in the law made last year. These changes "mostly complicated unlicensed project development in Turkey. Therefore, investors rushed to commission their projects before new changes and amendments take effect", Guler noted.
Turkey targets to have 3 GW of solar power capacity by 2023.
Although Turkey's new strategy for renewable energy development, focuses on designating zones for development of renewable energy sources where GW-scale sites will be developed by consortia of international and local companies, it also has to deal with a pile of projects started under its past legislation.
Turkey's first round of auctions for 600 MW of solar capacity was launched in 2013 and finalised in 2015, after a long waiting period. To date, only two licensed projects have been commissioned. One is the Solentegre Project in Elazig, an investment of AKFEN Holding, also backed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the 4.9 MW Halk Energy Project in Erzurum. All projects from the 600 MW tender should be installed by the end of 2018.
How much of the licenсed and pre-approved unlicensed projects will be actually built is difficult to forecast as each project has its very own story with land acquisition, permitting and financing issues.
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