Turkey installs only 78 MW of grid-tied PV in 2014

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While there are great expectations for the Turkish PV market in 2015, particularly in the unlicensed market segment, it has failed to delight in 2014.

Combining data from various sources, pv magazine has ascertained that Turkey has installed just over 78 MW of grid tied PV in 2014 compared to 804 MW of wind power plants.

As pv magazine reported in January, according to Turkey’s Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources statistics, the country added 6,303 MW of new capacity in 2014, of which wind and solar power plants comprise 14% or 882.290 MW. The ministry report does not provide specific wind and solar PV installation data separately. According to the same report, the rest of the newly added capacity in 2014 comes from fossil power plants (3899.960 MW), hydro plants (1,366.455 MW) and geothermal, biomass and waste power plants (154.169 MW).

However, according to a separate report published by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) on Tuesday regarding wind power’s global statistics for the year 2014, Turkey installed an impressive 804 MW of new wind energy capacity. This leaves solar PV technology only a minor 78.29 MW of installations in 2014.

What’s wrong?

Turkish Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources has set a minimum target of 3 GW solar PV installations by 2023. Furthermore, the AKP-led government’s vision aims for 90% of the Turkey’s electricity in 2023 to be equally provided by gas, coal and renewable energy plants (30% each), with a smaller 10% of the country’s electricity generated by nuclear plants. To achieve this, Turkey will need to install 110 GW of new generating capacity by 2023.

Today, Turkey’s installed power capacity stands today at around 70 GW, of which wind power comprises 3,763 MW and solar PV around 100 MW.

The solar PV industry ayes the Turkish PV sector closely, specifically after the first licensing round in 2013 for PV projects larger than 1 MW ended in submitted applications for 8.9 GW of capacity, almost 15 times larger than the 600 MW licensing cap. Turkey’s Energy Market Regulatory Authority (EPKD) has also said will begin accepting applications for new solar PV licenses in April 2015.

However, the energy ministry says that "the technical evaluations of the applications made to EPDK for the licensed generation of electricity in 2013 are currently being carried out”. So, why Turkey proceeds so slowly in the PV licenses evaluation and why wind power has in contrast gathered speed?

A possible answer is that wind projects are by far larger than most of the PV ones, therefore the process and acceptance of few wind power projects can lead to bigger amounts of capacity being installed more quickly. Still though, the process of PV applications has been ridiculously slow. Solar PV in Turkey has either fallen out of favor or Turkish institutions is struggling to cut through its own red tape.

These figures clearly augur badly for market prospects, it perhaps does not reflect off grid or “behind the meter” applications. There are high hopes for the unlicensed solar market in 2015, and pv magazine has heard of expectations as high as 600 MW for this segment alone this year. Unlicensed projects refer to those smaller than 1 MW.

Article edited by Jonathan Gifford.