Solar energy can play a key role in cutting down Turkey's gas imports, the Turkish Solar Energy Industry Association (GENSED) head Halil Demirdağ said Wednesday.
Around 1000 megawatts (MW) of installed solar energy capacity will prevent the import of natural gas worth $110 million, Demirdağ told Anadolu Agency's (AA) energy desk in an exclusive interview.
Turkey is a major solar energy player due to the country's abundance of solar energy.
"Turkey's share in the world's total installed solar energy capacity has reached 1%. It is very lucky in terms of geography when it comes to solar energy," he said.
Turkey's domestic energy market is highly dependent on natural gas. It imported a total of 50.36 billion cubic meters of gas in 2018. The import cost is a substantial burden on the country's energy budget and therefore, the country is focusing on renewable energy investments, he said.
He added that investments in renewables and solar energy, in particular, have lower financial costs, the results of which will see greater installed capacity in Turkey.
Turkey's current installed solar capacity is around 6,000 MW, but Demirdağ believes this will surpass 10,000 MW this year.
Global installed capacity in solar energy has recently surpassed 500,000 MW, more than 80% of which came in the last five years, Demirdağ noted.
China is considered the world's biggest solar panel manufacturer with a 90% share of the global market. The coronavirus outbreak, however, has had an impact on solar production and its supply chain.
Nevertheless, Demirdağ was hopeful and said that these concerns are already being quelled by Europe's decision to boost solar panel production capacity to at least 10,000 MW.
He also referred to requests from European buyers in the past 15-20 days who are interested in purchasing textiles, automotive and spare parts from Turkey to shore up the shortfall in the trade from China.