Turkey awards first large-scale solar project licenses

Turkey held the first round of its licensing program for large-scale solar projects last year, attracting nearly 15 times the 600 MW cap set by the Turkish Energy Regulatory Authority (EPDK).

Applications for licenses applying to solar farms with capacities of between 1 MW and 50 MW reached a total capacity of 8.9 GW.

The Ankara government has now awarded the first two licenses, one to an 8 MW solar park in the region of Elazig in Eastern Anatolia, and the other to a 5 MW project in the eastern region of Erzurum, according to Yalc?n Adiyaman, deputy general manager of Halk Enerji.

Five companies bidded on the Elazig project. Solentegre Enerji won the contract with an offer of TRY 827,000 (US$399,488) per megawatt. Halk Enerji won the Erzurum project with an offer of nearly $33,000 per megawatt, Adiyaman told pv magazine, underscoring the considerable price ranges in Turkey’s PV market.

The solar parks that are granted government licenses will be supported for more than 10 years with feed-in tariffs (FIT) of just $0.14 per kilowatt hour for the newly approved PV projects, according to Adiyaman. Projects that use locally manufactured components receive a premium, however. The FIT can therefore rise to more than $0.19 per kilowatt hour in the first five years.

"The financing of photovoltaic projects through banks in Turkey is relatively easy,” Adiyaman said.

Indeed, next to the guaranteed 10-year FIT, high irradiation levels of around 1,600 kilowatt hours per kilowatt peak make the operation of PV systems in Turkey profitable. Under current conditions, PV systems can be amortized after about eight years. Even after the expiration of solar subsidies there are possibilities to generate good revenue from the sale of solar electricity. The current daytime market price for electricity in Turkey averages more than $0.068 per kilowatt hour. Adiyaman expects that the price will rise at least slightly in the coming years.

Halk Enerji has been active in the Turkish PV market for several years. The company connected the first unlicensed ground-mounted system with a capacity of 1.8 MW to the grid in the Central Anatolian city of Polatli earlier this month, Adiyaman added. The solar park is divided into two parts and has two separate meters. Licenses are not required for solar parks under 1 MW in Turkey. By implementing projects in this form, developers can bypass the tendering process. "The law does not prohibit this," Adiyaman added. Halk Enerji is currently planning construction of a 4 MW plant that will also be realized in similar fashion.

Edited and translated by Edgar Meza