Solarex: Waiting for Turkey's real market push

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Although organizers have yet to release official figures for the 7th International Solar Energy and Technologies Exhibition (Solarex) in Istanbul, attendance has so far been quite busy in the two exhibition halls and the outdoor tent at Istanbul Expo Center.

Some 100 PV exhibitors, among them numerous international companies like Schletter, Deger, Multicontact, Fronius, SMA, Huawei, Kaco, Danfoss, JA Solar, Jinko, CSUN, Schmid, Meyer Burger, Feron and Teamtechnik, are attending the Istanbul event.

Despite the bustling turnout, downstream companies are still waiting for a market push and real sales: so far only around 12 to 15 MW of PV systems have been installed in Turkey. Some 100 to 200 MW of new installations are expected this year, most of them non-licensed projects of up to 1 MW.

Chinese manufacturer CSUN signed a 15 MW agreement with Turkish EPC PV-Systems for non-licensed ground mounted projects. According to company spokesperson Andrea Bodenhagen, the modules will come from CSUN’s Istanbul factory and from their Chinese production.

Bodenhagen added that the module capacity of CSUN’s Istanbul factory will be expanded from 200 MW to 300 MW in the coming months and part of the equipment will be upgraded. A 100 MW cell line has been in place since the end of last year, Bodenhagen noted.

CSUN sells its cells for OEM production in countries like Tunisia and Greece. The company’s modules sold to Europe are using cells made in Taiwan because they are cheaper than CSUN’s cells made in Turkey.

According to Christian Schmid, CEO of Germany’s Schmid Group, most of the approximately five to eight local Turkish manufacturers are producing OEM modules for Chinese companies, mainly for export to neighboring regions and Europe. Schmid has so far sold crystalline turnkey lines and equipment to four local manufacturers, including Solar Türk, and the company has further projects in the pipeline.

"Turkey is at the moment our most important European market," Schmid told pv magazine.

German equipment manufacturer Teamtechnik, in cooperation with Schmid, has sold four stringers for module lines in Turkey, while fellow German company Bürkle sold four laminators, according to sales director Sven Kramer.