Turkey to tender 302 MW of PV in April

Turkey’s Electricity Transmission Company (TEIAS) on Tuesday announced the tender of 302 MW of photovoltaic capacity, which is part of the country’s inaugural call for 600 MW of solar PV pending since 2013. The tenders will take place on April 28, 29 and 30.

TEIAS previously tendered a cumulative photovoltaic capacity of 228 MW on January 29 and 30, leading to another big chunk of Turkey’s 600 MW of PV projects larger than 1 MW to be licenced.

The news is significanct because developers who had submitted applications for 8.9 GW of PV capacity, almost 15 times larger than the 600 MW licensing cap, have been waiting for almost two years for their applications to be processed and projects selected.

Barriers to overcome

However, not all news are equally uplifting. Successful bidders in the January tenders will still need to wait until the country’s energy watchdog, the EPDK, finally approves their licences. What developers win via the tendering process is a preliminary license. Following this, they still need to gather a number of other permits, adding still more red tape, time and expenses. After the EPDK has received all necessary permits, it then considers the final approval of a PV license. Upon issuing it, construction is theoretically ready to start.

This is what happened with the first preliminary licenses that were won by two solar PV applications of 5 MW and 8 MW in the Erzurum and Elazig regions, respectively. While the projects had won a preliminary license in May 2014, their licenses were not approved until December.

Fees related to the tender pose an additional obstacle to Turkey’s solar PV deployment, according to industry watchers. TEIAS’ tenders require a one-time contribution fee to be paid per installed megawatt, explained Hannes Beushausen, project manager and Turkey expert at Apricum consulting firm, which is headquartered in Berlin and has a representative office in Turkey.

"This fee bears a major significance," Beushausen told pv magazine. "Already for 2014’s licenses the winning bids differ significantly, ranging from TRY 68,000 ($26,622) per megawatt in Ezurum to TRY 827,000 ($323,820) per megawatt in Elazig. For several licenses of the 228 MW of PV capacity tendered in January that have high contribution fees, we don’t see how one can establish feasible projects under the Turkish FIT," Beushausen noted.

All projects receive the same FIT of $0.133 per kilowatt hour for 10 years plus five-year premiums for components manufactured in Turkey, Beushausen added. The variable fee is the result of the tender.

pv magazine has revealed that Turkey added just 78 MW of grid-tied PV in 2014. The country’s recently announced first National Renewable Energy Action Plan, crafted by the Turkish Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources with the assistance of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), has set a target of 5 GW of solar PV by 2023. Turkey’s solar PV target, when compared with 34 GW of hydropower and 20 GW of wind by the same time, is considered unambitious.

A list of the most important winning projects in January tender is available from Turkey’s solar PV association here. TEIAS has also published details (in Turkish) regarding the April tenders.

pv magazine will examine Turkey’s PV landscape in the forthcoming April issue, including policy, financing, grid issues and the sub-1 MW unlicensed market. The article includes exclusive quotes from the EBRD’s team in Turkey.