Turkey banks on solar energy

Human beings have had quite a struggle since the beginning to develop ways to warm up and cool down. Today, the HVAC-R industry is more essential than ever.

n Elazığ, around 400 kilometres east of Ankara, the largest solar power station in Turkey to date is being built with construction due to finish by September 2016. The photovoltaic plant with a capacity of around 10 megawatts is a joint venture between Phoenix Solar of Sulzemoos in Bavaria and its Turkish partner company Asunim Yenilenebilir Enerji Teknolojileri. This project is only one example of the dynamic expansion of solar energy in Turkey. Many German companies partake in this, from project developer juwi of Wörrstadt, to Schletter of Kirchdorf, Goldbeck Solar of Hirschberg and IBC Solar of Bad Staffelstein who have already realised a multitude of projects with Turkish partners and are planning further plants.

German companies play a key role in exploiting the potential for electricity generation through solar panels. “We predict that we can sustainably expand our business in the rapidly growing Turkish market and in the region as a whole,” said Klaus Friedl of Phoenix Solar. In doing so, experience and expertise from Germany meet ideal natural conditions in the country beyond the Bosphorus. With 2,640 hours of sunshine annually, Turkey comes a close second to European frontrunners Spain. There is no shortage of space for medium-size solar power plants and the power grid is large enough to absorb the produced solar energy.

At the beginning of the year the capacity of solar power plants in Turkey added up to around 300 megawatts. For the year 2016 alone an addition of 600 megawatts can be expected. A minimum of 300,000 households will then be able to receive climate-neutral solar energy. According to the National Action Plan of Turkey for Renewable Energy, by 2016 the production capacity of solar energy should exceed a remarkable 5,000 megawatts. Solar energy will then supplement other renewable sources of energy, such as water and wind power, geothermal energy and bio mass, which, by 2023, should provide around one third of the growing energy demand of the country and reduce the currently large dependence on oil and gas imports. The interest of the global solar energy industry in Turkey has been aroused. The organisers of the worldwide largest trade fair for photovoltaics, Intersolar in Munich, have recognised this development, too. “With the Intersolar Summit, we have entered a market with a large potential and a dynamic development since 2015,” said Markus Elsässer from the organisers of Intersolar. As an important incentive for investors, the Turkish government guarantees a price of 13.3 US cents per kilowatt hour of solar energy fed into the national grid. The American currency has been chosen deliberately to de-couple the compensation from fluctuations in the value of the Turkish Lira. It could even be increased by 6.7 US cents if all the components of a solar power plant – from the steel structure to the solar panels – are produced in Turkey itself.