Turkey has marked the end of this year by laying the groundwork for the Renewable Energy Resource Zone (YEKA), the country’s first photovoltaic cell and solar module plant. It should decrease country’s dependency on external energy resources. Commercial operations are expected in the first half of 2019.
The Renewable Energy Resource Zone (YEKA) will have the capacity to manufacture 800 MW of solar panels, 650 MW of solar cells and 500 MW of ingot casting. Down to road, the plant, which is also going to be research and development center (R&D), will significantly help Turkey to minimize energy dependency on external resources and will reduce energy costs.
Currently, Turkey spends USD 55 billion per year for external energy sources, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Berat Albayrak said. YEKA, as a new and expensive energy model, as Turkey media reports, is considered a breakthrough in the development of energy technologies that should save country’s overall resources.
The first YEKA project was a 1 GW solar power plant in Karapınar, a district in the central Anatolia region.
In March 2017, Kalyon-Hanhwa consortium won a tender for construction of 1 GW solar power plant under the Renewable Energy Resource Area (YEKA) scheme in Karapınarprovince.
The Korean Hanwha Q Cells company, a solar power unit of South Korean conglomerate Hanwha Group, said it would build what would be Europe’s largest solar power plant, reads the company’s statement. The Turkish government would purchase power from the plant for 30 years. The energy price would be fixed at USD 6.99 per kilowatt hour for the first half of the contract duration. After that the energy will be sold at the market price.
In addition to the manufacturing facility, Hanwha-Kalyon joint venture will also establish on-site R&D center to carry out various projects in solar technology. The manufacturing facility will be fully integrated from ingot, wafer, cell and module processes, and once completed, the module produced from this facility will be used for the construction of the 1,000 MW (AC) solar power plant to be built in Konya-Karapınar.
The tender specified that the equipment must be produced locally. At the kick-off ceremony of the plant in Ankara, Albayrak said that this investment will also create more than 1,000 jobs.
The total investment cost is estimated around USD 500 million. The plant will be built on 20 million square meters.