Turkey’s solar power rises but still falls short of its potential

The share of solar power in Turkey’s total installed electric capacity rose to 7.5% at the end of July, but it remains below the country’s untapped potential, according to data compiled by Anadolu (AA) agency on Monday.

Turkey added 658 megawatts of solar capacity in the seven months of this year, bringing the country’s total solar power capacity to 7,325 megawatts, which is 14% of the total renewable energy capacity.

At the end of July, Turkey’s total installed electricity capacity reached 98,263 megawatts, of which renewables constituted around 52,000 megawatts.

The share of solar energy in Turkey’s total electricity production was 4.2% in the January-July period with 8 billion kilowatt-hours of production. Total electricity production reached 188.8 billion kilowatt hours during this period.

Although Turkey is among the countries with the highest solar potential with around 7.5 hours of sunshine per day, its potential is still relatively untapped.

Turkey is trying to increase its production of renewable energy as the country is heavily dependent on imported fossil fuels.

Compared to other renewable resources such as hydropower and wind, solar is one of the country’s newest sources of energy in terms of installations, which started as unlicensed power plants in 2013.

The first solar thermal power plant was built in Istanbul with a capacity of 500 kilowatts in 2013.

Solar capacity stood at 40.2 megawatts in 2014, increased to 248.8 megawatts in 2015, but jumped to 3,420 megawatts in 2017.

In 2019, this capacity increased further to reach 5,595 megawatts and 6,667 megawatts in 2020.

Capacity additions this year are expected to reach more than 100%, industry representatives said earlier. The additions were expected to be 1,500 megawatts, compared to last year when only 672 megawatts were added due to disruptions in the global supply chain due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Of the current 7,325 megawatts of installed solar capacity, 6,626 megawatts represent unauthorized capacity, the remaining 699 megawatts being authorized capacity.

Konya, a central province of Anatolia, has the highest solar power capacity in Turkey with 914.9 megawatts. Konya is also home to Turkey’s largest solar power plant, Karapınar, which when completed will generate a capacity of 1,000 megawatts. The current operational capacity of the plant built by Kalyon Enerji is around 300 megawatts.

Ankara follows with 390.9 megawatts of installed solar capacity and Şanlıurfa with 376.7 megawatts. Kayseri and Izmir also make significant contributions of 335.9 megawatts and 294.6 megawatts, respectively.

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