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Turkey’s solar could pass 20 GW by 2026

In the most bullish scenario provided in a report published by Turkey's Shura Energy Transition Center, solar is predicted to reach 30 GW of installed capacity by the halfway point of the next decade. The report's most conservative scenario envisages around 6 GW.

Turkey may be able to cover over 20% of its power needs with wind and solar by 2026, reaching 40 GW of combined installed capacity, according to the report “Increasing the Share of Renewables in Turkey’s Power System: Options for Transmission Expansion and Flexibility”, which was published by the Shura Energy Transition Center, a Turkish entity that was founded by the European Climate Foundation (ECF), Germany’s Agora Energiewende and Istanbul Policy Center (IPC) at Sabancı University.

The authors of the study also found that reaching the 40 GW of wind and solar is achievable without additional investments for improving the country’s power transmission system. According to them, in fact, the impact on redispatch and curtailment of electricity in this scenario is considered negligible, while in line with the current investment plans of the country’s state-owned grid operator, TEIAŞ.

The study includes three different scenarios for the future development of PV and wind in Turkey: a base case scenario of 20 GW, in line with TEIAŞ’ forecasts (which includes 6 GW of solar); a doubling 40 GW scenario (with 20 GW of PV); and a tripling 60 GW scenario (of which 30 GW would be solar).

In the first scenario, solar and wind together are expected to reach a 12% share in the country’s electricity mix, while in the second and third scenarios their combined share is expected to achieve 21% and 31%, respectively.

The most ambitious second and third scenarios would require significant investment in grid improvement, calculated in the amount of €390 million and €430 million, respectively, the authors of the report stressed. The difference is given by the fact that, in the third scenario, 2,750 km of extra lines must be built, as opposed to 8,300 km in the second scenario.

Furthermore, the Shura Energy Transition Center reported in the study that around 1.7 GW of new PV installations were connected to the grid in Turkey last year, which confirms the data provided to pv magazine by Turkish Solar Energy Society, Solarbaba in January. Overall, the operational PV capacity connected to the country’s grid as of the end of December 2017 was around 2.6 GW.

Meanwhile, Turkey’s total registered unlicensed solar power has reached 4.62 GW (AC) as of the end of April 2018, according to new statistics published by TEIAŞ, which appeared on the twitter account of the company’s general manager, Abdullah Atalay.

New additions in April totaled only 38 MW, quite a small amount compared to the 648 MW registered in March, and the 552 MW announced by TEIAŞ for the first two months of this year.

Overall, newly registered PV capacity for the first four months of this year was 1,238 MW. As for other new renewable energy sources, wind saw the addition of around 53 MW in April, while for geothermal power, no new capacity was registered.

As previously reported by pv magazine, however, those statistics were questioned by several operators of the Turkish solar sector, which claim that the numbers do not relate to grid-connected PV project, but only to projects registered for grid-connection. TEIAŞ and the local solar association Günder, on their side, have always claimed that these figures are related to operational solar installations.

Despite these impressive numbers, the slow growth registered in April seems to suggest that the ballooning numbers of the previous months and last year are probably doomed to shrink in the near future, and that the Turkish solar market will see slower growth in 2018 compared to that of last year. Although unlicensed PV projects are still benefiting from a FIT of around $0.13/kWh, an increase in the grid-fee for solar projects, which rose from 0.0256 TRL /kWh in 2017, to 0.1025 TRL/kWh (around $0.027), may cause a lower level of deployment of solar installations this year.

The Turkish market saw large volumes of development over the past two years due to the decreasing costs of the PV technology and to the above-mentioned unlicensed PV projects, which can in theory not exceed 1 MW, but can be combined in bigger solar parks consisting of several 1 MW sub-units.

Turkey is currently targeting to install 5 GW of solar by 2023.

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