Solar panel plant to boost Turkey's role in renewables

A state-of-the-art solar panel production facility, built in the central province of Niğde with an investment of around $650 million, is promising to boost Turkey's position and make it an ambitious player in the global renewable energy market.

Turkish renewables project developer Eko Yenilenebilir Enerjiler A.Ş (EkoRE) broke the ground for the facility in March this year and will start production in 2020.

Panels to be produced in the plant with a high efficiency of around 23.5% have a great advantage over their Chinese competitors around the world. EkoRE has already started attracting the interest of foreign investors due to its high competitiveness and market advantage.

The developments in the field of renewable energy sources all over the world have given rise to a very competitive environment on the production side of the industry. With the incentives they provide in renewable energy, governments are striving to attract the production facilities of wind turbines and solar panels that will be used in giant power plants. Private companies, on the other hand, are looking for market advantage in the regions where they will establish their production facilities.

EkoRE CEO Serhan Süzer noted that the course of investments in the world will largely be around renewable energy in the upcoming period. "In order to seize the potential here, we received TL 4.2 billion in investment incentive and founded a state-of-the-art solar panel production plant in Niğde. We will start production in 2020. Turkey has great potential and very high competitive power in this area," Süzer was cited as saying by Turkish daily Hürriyet.

The firm received government support within the scope of an incentives package worth TL 135 billion announced by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in April last year. The incentives were introduced to support 23 projects by 19 selected Turkish firms.

Underlining that China dominates the renewable energy market, Süzer stated that a total of 27 out of 35 international firms are Chinese. "While European companies are looking for alternative producers, Turkey should seize this opportunity. There is no reason why we cannot have a production base in renewable energy," he said.

Süzer stated that they built the factory with an investment of $650 million in a 620,000-square meter area allocated in the Bor Organized Industrial Zone in Niğde, adding that they have been negotiating with seven foreign investors from the U.S., Canada, the Far East and the Middle East.

The solar cells and panels to be produced by EkoRE from a silicon mine in Niğde have a high competitive power given solar panels in the market have an average efficiency of 17-18% and the best quality of these is 21%. The efficiency of the panels to be produced in Niğde will be 23.5% and will be sold for 30% cheaper than the ones in the market. This is a great advantage compared to its competitors in China.

The factory in Niğde plans to employ 1,000 people. After the start of production, a subindustry cluster will be formed around the factory for the solar power industry, where around 3,500 people will be employed.

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