From pv magazine Germany.
Turkish PV manufacturer Kalyon Solar Technologies held the opening ceremony for its Ankara gigafactory this week with president Recep Tayyip Erdogan in attendance.
The vertically-integrated fab will initially have a 500 MW annual production capacity for the manufacture of solar ingots, wafers, cells and modules, rising to 1 GW in future.
Construction of the gigafactory was tendered in March 2017 and included the installation of a 1 GW solar field 260km south of the Turkish capital in Konya. A joint bid by Kalyon and Korean manufacturer Hanwha Q-Cells secured the tender but Hanwha subsequently walked away from the deal.
The 1 GW solar plant will cost $1 billion and the Ankara factory $400 million in a deal which marks one of the nation’s biggest energy investments.
Kalyon will create 1,400 factory jobs during the first phase of operations with 100 scientists working in an affiliated research center.
The solar power plant is expected to give a 20% lift to the volume of electricity generated from solar in Turkey and the first of the 3.5 million panels planned at the site were installed as the factory opening ceremony was taking place. The plan is to equip the huge solar field with modules produced at the Ankara fab with the first panels having rolled off the production line in recent weeks. Ingots, wafers and cells are now following.
German PV production equipment suppliers RCT Solutions has supported development of the factory since the feasibility study phase and German equipment has been installed on the production lines.
“Many European countries are currently thinking about rebuilding a complete photovoltaic value chain that includes all production steps,” RCT chief executive Peter Fath told pv magazine. “In Turkey they have now shown how and how it works.”
The RCT chief said his company started working with Kalyon in May last year, the solar manufacturer signed supplier contracts in October and the Covid-19 crisis prompted only a slight delay before module production started.
The Turkish government decided to subsidize the facility in September, with a TRL1.99 billion ($333 million) “super incentive.”
The nation wants to become a solar manufacturing hub, and renewables developer Eko Yenilenebilir Enerjiler AS in March last year began constructing its own 1 GW vertically integrated panel factory in Niğde, central Anatolia.
This article was amended on 20/08/20 to reflect RCT Solutions started working with Kalyon in May last year rather than May 2020, as previously stated.
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