Solarex: Turkish solar sector sees increased activity

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Some 250 exhibitors and around 10,000 visitors joined the 7th International Solar Energy and Technologies Exhibition (Solarex) in Istanbul — a 20% increase compared to 2013, according to organizers. International exhibitors accounted for a 50 percent share. Despite the high bureaucracy and relatively few installations so far, most companies pv magazine spoke to expressed optimism about the further development of the Turkish PV market and contentment with the trade fair.

"Qualified interest increased considerably compared to last year,” said Wang Runchuan, senior manager at JA Solar. Many booths in the two exhibition halls at the Istanbul Expo Center remained surrounded by flocks of visitors up until the closing of the show late Saturday afternoon.

Multiple companies reported increased activities and sales in Turkey, including Jinko Solar, which saw sales of 12 MW in the country in recent months. Schletter has already installed more than 5 MW and recently opened a local warehouse. LTi REEnergy delivered a 1 MW central inverter power station to a non-licensed project. The German company presented at Solarex a concrete power station with four PVmaster III cabinets and locally made components like transformers, which are suitable for the Turkish domestic content ruling, according to Managing Director Michael Bellmer. Talesun Germany formed a joint venture with Talesun Anadolu Solar Enerji Üretim and operates a local office with ten staffers in Ankara. Company spokeswoman Simone Lintermann told pv magazine that the company had an application pipeline of 180 MW, mainly for licensed projects over 1 MW. Renesola announced it would soon be opening a local office in order to increase its presence in the Turkish market.

In May the first 13 MW of a total 600 MW projects of the first licensing round will be announced, Sebahattin Öz from the General Directorate of Renewable Energy said.

In anticipation of a coming market push a couple of local manufacturers are in the stage of ramping up production. Berket Energji will open a 150 MW crystalline module production fab in June near Izmir, Project Manager Ahmet Fuat Öztepe told pv magazine. German equipment manufacturer Schmid will deliver three turnkey lines (30/60/60 MW) for the project. Local production of high efficiency cells is scheduled to start next year.

"Our goal is to install 1 GW in Turkey within the next 10 years," Öztepe said. Berket Energji’s present application pipeline for its own independent power producer (IPP) business is currently at 190 MW.