Belectric awarded 77.4 MW under Turkey’s first solar licensing round

Out of 545 MW, Belectric’s joint venture partner in Turkey, Belectric Kulo?lu Güne? Elektrik Santrallari Teknolojisi A.?., has been awarded 14% of the total tendered capacity under Turkey’s first solar licensing round. The company is set to install 77.4 MW of PV across three systems: 45 MW in Van Arisu (pre-license won, permitting to follow); 23.4 MW in Antalya Akseki; and 9 MW in Mardin.

Co-founder and MD of Belectric Kulo?lu, Cenap Kulo?lu told pv magazine they aim to build the projects in the first half of 2017, following between 12 and 18 months of licensing and permitting.

Regarding Turkey’s contribution fees, which have led some to question the feasibility of PV projects under the country’s FIT, Belectric Kulo?lu commented in a statement released that it committed fees US$325,000 per MW less than the other top five contenders.

Cenap Kulo?lu further told pv magazine that for tenders at the end of January, its 23.4 MW Antalya Akseki PV project received the highest AC connection capacity for a "below average" committed contribution fee of 1,140,000 TRY/MW (around $444,576) for grid connection; while the 9 MW Mardin project will pay the lowest fee, at 610,000 TRY/MW. Finally, under the tenders on April 29, the 45 MW Van Arisu project – the largest project awarded in Turkey – will pay a fee of 1,914,000 TRY/MW.

Responding to whether these prices are feasible, Kulo?lu commented, "These committed contribution fees are in TL. When we build the SPPs [solar power projects] in the first half of 2017, the first installment of the AC connection contribution fee is due on January 1st, 2018. At that time we do expect that USD will be appreciated therefore the impact of these fees in the CAPEX will be lower.

"Therefore, we firmly believe given decreasing trend of the System Integration prices (PV Panels and BOS costs) our projects are attractive in terms of Equity IRRs. Especially, as the markets expect that the current low interest rate environment is not likely to change (max. up to 3%) in the next 5 years significantly, any equity IRRs more than 10% for 49 years are good investments!"

In addition to high contribution fees, Turkey’s solar sector has also been criticized for its bureaucratic processes, which are seen as slow and relatively cumbersome. Kuloglu, however, is confident that the next licensing round will be more efficient, based on what has been learned in the first, pilot, round.

He added, "Once the regulators experience the benefits of Hybrid Systems Gas and Solar, Grid Stabilizing Technologies and Utility Grade Energy Storage Systems the current set target of 5 GW (vis a vis Germany’s 40 GW) will be increased to cover Turkey’s increasing power demand. This should then lead to abolish the current subsidies on gas and thus to improve our current account deficit where oil and gas amount of app. 50 billion USD p.a."

Turkey added just 78 MW of grid-tied PV in 2014. Signalling a desire to significantly ramp up capacity, the country’s recently announced first National Renewable Energy Action Plan has set a target of 5 GW of solar PV by 2023.

Take an in-depth look at Turkey’s PV market in pv magazine’s April edition.