Renewables

Photovoltaic plant of 1 GW in connection capacity inaugurated in Turkey

Karapinar Photovoltaic 1 GW connection capacity inaugurated Turkey

Photo: Kalyon Holding

Published

May 3, 2023

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Published:

May 3, 2023

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The official opening was held in Turkey’s Konya province of Kalyon Energy’s solar power plant of 1.35 GW in peak capacity or 1 GW in connection terms. The photovoltaic panels were produced in Kalyon Holding’s factory in Ankara, with domestic participation in materials, services and work of 76%.

Turkey has reached 9.8 GW in solar power capacity, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Fatih Dönmez said ahead of the inauguration of the Karapınar facility in central Anatolia. The largest such facility in its part of the world, owned by Kalyon Holding through its subsidiary Kalyon Energy (Enerji), consists of 3.26 million photovoltaic panels. The company produces them in its plant in Ankara, a joint venture with China Electronic Technology Group Corp. (CETC).

The local participation rate in equipment production for Karapınar in Konya province is 76%, according to Dönmez. The company earlier said it wants to boost the share of domestic value to 90%.

Both the factory and the PV plant were built with massive government subsidies. Kalyon claims it is the world’s first and only integrated solar panel production facility.

Dönmez: Turkey is world’s third-largest solar panel manufacturer

Turkey is the third in the world in solar panel manufacturing output, the minister reiterated. The new solar power plant is producing electricity for which the country would otherwise have to import gas worth USD 450 million, Dönmez asserted. The system was put into operation segment upon segment.

Parts of the PV park were consecutively connected to the grid, after finishing each segment

Konya Karapınar spans an area equivalent to 2,800 football pitches. Its annual production is estimated at 2.5 TWh. It has 1.35 GW in peak capacity, in direct current or DC. The connection capacity, in terms of alternating current (AC), is 1 GW.

The ceremony was attended by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who is in a reelection campaign. The presidential and general elections are scheduled for May 14. Just last week the government said the Akkuyu project gained the status of Turkey’s first nuclear power plant as the fuel was loaded into the first reactor.

The first unit, which is still not operational, is planned for 1.11 GW in electricity capacity.

Desertification opened up area for massive photovoltaic plant

The Karapınar location in the Acıgöl basin was selected for the first tender under the Renewable Energy Resources Area – YEKA support mechanism as it turned into a vast desert with unsustainable agriculture and as a result of climate change. In Europe and beyond, farmers and environmentalists often oppose renewable energy projects if they are planned on arable land.

The location was suitable for a giant solar power plant because desertification made agriculture unviable

The investment is worth USD 1 billion, earlier estimates showed. The United Kingdom’s Export Credits Guarantee Department or UK Export Finance (UKEF) has provided a GBP 217 million guarantee for GE Energy Financial Services’ credit facility that enabled General Electric to deploy its Flexinverter solution.

International Holding Co. (IHC) from the United Arab Emirates agreed in August to buy 50% of Kalyon Energy. The two companies are now working on a five-year investment partnership possibly worth over USD 10 billion.

No solar park in Europe bigger than Konya Karapınar

Karapınar is in Asia Minor. In a strictly geographical sense, Europe’s biggest solar power plant is Iberdrola’s Francisco Pizarro. The facility in Extremadura has 590 MW in capacity. But there is also the biggest solar complex, of 850 MW, in Spain as well. The system in Aragon consists of 17 units with 50 MW each.

Currently the largest completed solar power plant in the region tracked by Balkan Green Energy News has a nameplate capacity of 204.3 MW. It is in Greece’s north, in the Western Macedonia region. The facility was installed by HELLENiQ Energy, which used to be called Hellenic Petroleum. It is also the biggest photovoltaic plant with bifacial panels in Europe.

PPC Renewables is about to start building a 550 MW system in the same province.

The biggest PV park in the Western Balkans is in North Macedonia. It is owned by Slovenian firm GEN-I. It has 17 MW. French company Voltalia started building its Karavasta facility last year in Albania. The envisaged peak or maximum capacity is 140 MW.

Of note, China Energy has commissioned the first 1 GW of its 13 GW wind and solar power project in the Tengger desert, next to the Gobi desert. The country intends to build photovoltaic and wind farms of 100 GW in total in desert areas.

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