An investment that will contribute to the infrastructure of solar panel production - currently approaching 1,400 megawatts (MWs) in Turkey - will soon be put into effect. Smart Energy Group, which has solar power plant investments in Turkey and Balkan countries including Bulgaria and Greece, providing turnkey GES installation services to other investors, has undertaken the new solar panel investment.
The Turkish solar company Smart Energy Group will build a 1,200-MW solar panel plant in the Gebze Organized Industrial Zone (GOIZ) in collaboration with Chinese company, Phono Solar with roughly 400 MWs expected to begin production soon. The partnership aims to generate domestic sales as well as exports to the U.S. and Europe.
Smart Energy Chairman and CEO Halil Demirdağ said that the decision to produce solar panels has been fueled by new regulations in Turkey's import sector, adding that Smart Energy has successfully convinced China's Phono Solar, one of the key brands approved by major banks and insurance companies worldwide, to be a strategic partner.
Approximately 400 MWs of the solar panel factory's four production lines in GOIZ - Tembelova - will soon be commissioned. Noting that the partnership includes plans for an annual production capacity of up to 1,200 MWs and the factory building has been designed in accordance with this goal, Demirdağ said there is no land problem, adding that the production line will be installed into an available building across an area measuring 23,500 square meters.
Halil Demirdağ stressed that upon approval, Phono Solar's world-renowned products will begin production in Gebze, noting: "Therefore, the products to be released from the factory on the first day will meet international standards and include insurance guarantees. We aim to complete the first panel production in August. The customers of the first-party products to be released from this band are ready and have already been sold domestically," Demirdağ said.
Demirdağ went on to note that Chinese partner Phono Solar will supply the appropriate raw materials for the panel plant in Gebze. Stressing that production in Turkey is also advantageous for the Chinese because of the anti-dumping practices applied against Chinese products in the U.S. and European countries, Demirdağ said, "For our strategic partner, we will produce at a certain profitability rate plus cost. In other words, our facilities are planned to be commissioned in a way that will allow us to create our own market."
Demirdağ emphasized that the Tembelova panel plant in GOIZ not only targets the Turkish market but European markets, as well. He said that they have received documents regarding investment incentives to increase factory capacity from 420 to 1,200, adding that the Chinese partner's sales to the European region will be made via this factory. "The fact that the European domestic panel producers are moving away from the market due to high prices has also created a major opportunity for both us and Phono Solar in [Europe]," he noted.
With the strategic partnership of Smart Energy Group and Chinese Phono Solar, new generation bi-directional solar panels will be produced at facilities to be set up in Gebze. "As we were purchasing production equipment, we adopted an approach which focuses on producing high-quality panels to bring potential best-selling panels to the market over the next five years," Smart Energy CEO said; thus eliminating the possibility of aging technology during the planning stage of the investment.
Pointing out that Turkey has high targets for domestic and renewable energy, Demirdağ said domestic production will stand out within the country, suggesting that it is not necessary to wait for the YEKA tender to establish the factory. "We do not act with the logic of winning a tender and then setting up a factory. We preferred to grow in our areas of specialty in this sector which we entered eight years ago as an investing and engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) firm," he added. "However, since changes have been made to import regulations which encourage domestic production, we have determined the necessity of this investment and acted accordingly as of 2016. By the end of last year, we determined our capacity to stand at around 420 MWs and accelerated works for the establishment of the plant."