Kalyon Holding has doubled the production capacity of Kalyon PV Solar Technologies factory. The solar panel manufacturing plant was set up to meet the solar panel need of the holding ’s Karapinar Solar Power Plant (SPP) which has 1,000 megawatts (MW) of installed power. The company is now eying export opportunities. Peter Fath, Technology and Investments Executive Committee Member and Vice President of Kalyon PV, answered questions from daily DUNYA.
HOW WOULD YOU EVALUATE WTHE TURKISH SOLAR ENERGY INDUSTRY?
Solar energy business has two sides. One side is to serve the Turkish market. This market will further grow as Turkey is a party to the Paris Climate Agreement. The other side of the issue is Turkey’s service to the regional countries. Europe is our second largest market. We can also provide service to the U.S., which has a growing market position.
WHAT’S THE POSITION OF YOUR COMPANY IN THE TURKISH MARKET?
We initially produced solar panels to use at our Karapinar SPP. It is considered one of the biggest SPPs in the world with its 1.3-gigawatt (GW) capacity. We have the only manufacturing plant in the world that produces solar panels starting from ingot, wafer, and cells under a single roof. We’ve doubled our production capacity at Kalyon PV and started to make sales to the European and the U.S. markets in addition to the Turkish market.
WHAT ARE YOUR TARGET MARKETS ABROAD?
We are the biggest solar panel manufacturing plant in Turkey and Europe with our 1,200 MW capacity. •ur target markets are Turkish, European and the U.S. markets initially. Moreover, neighboring countries, including in the Middle East and former Soviet Union, such as Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan, are also among our target markets.
IS THERE ANY GOVERNMENT REGULATION OR SUPPORT NEED?
I can say that the government is showing the necessary interest in solar energy. They organized Renewable Energy Resource Areas (YEKA) auctions and they made a major contribution to the sector. So, we can say that the Turkish government has done its best so far. But we can’t stop here. We should focus on houses now. We should think about rooftops, homes, smart homes rather than large energy power plants. The government should also make regulations in this field.
WHAT IS NECESSARY FOR A NEW JUMP IN THIS FIELD?
The government should make necessary regulations. You should have a right to feed the network when you install solar panels on your roof. This must be regulated. Moreover, those, who consume for their own needs should also be regulated. You should be able to provide surplus to the network while consuming electricity you generate for your own needs. We should consider the energy storage issue next, because the sun radiates only in daytime. That’s why progress should be made in energy storage in Turkey so that we can continue to use the electricity generated during the day at night. The next step is its operation in a networked manner. There are solar panels at homes, you have storage, production should be transferred there when the network needs electricity, and energy should be received from the network if necessary. This should be solved by cloud or network methods and the government should regulate these areas.
DO YOU HAVE AN ESTIMATION ABOUT WHEN THIS MAY HAPPEN?
As I said earlier, the government does a good job on the commercial and power plants sides. We should keep going. As Kalyon, we also make overseas sales. Rooftop-domestic applications dominate the market there. But, how can we sell abroad a business that we don’t have experience with in our own domestic market? In my opinion this work must be done as soon as possible, for instance, next year. The necessary regulations including storage for the domestic market should immediately be made and implemented.
Solar equipment supply sector must develop in Turkey
Finding the necessary raw material and input equipment is an important factor to manufacture solar panels in Turkey, according to Peter Fath. “If you have a factory such as Kalyon PV and 80% of your cost stems from material, the supply chain should develop. We should provide a strong material supply from Turkey,” said Fath. “The supply chain should develop and increase its capacity to a considerable extent in Turkey. Because the sector is growing rapidly, and the supply chain should keep pace with this. Many inputs such as glass, aluminum profile and folio should be manufactured here,” he added.