Much ado has been made of the great solarization of Gulf countries such as Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi, but Turkey has made some sun-powered progress too. And the most recent development in the south is also the country’s largest.
Solimpeks is in the process of installing a 500kWp photovoltaic plant on Mercan Mermer’s roof. A well-established stone manufacturing plant in Burdur, the company commissioned the rooftop array in order to reduce its operating costs. All prepped with mounting sets, the roof awaits 2,120 Panasonic HIT N235 modules, which are expected to produce a total of 900,000 kWh of clean energy every year.
Most countries in the Middle East and North Africa region that have installed large scale solar plants have turned to either Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) or hybrid systems that rely on natural gas to buttress CSP. There’s Kuraymat in Egypt and the recently inaugurated Shams 1 just outside of Abu Dhabi.
But photovoltaic technology has come a long way since Egypt and Abu Dhabi first commissioned their CSP plants.
Panasonic’s HIT N235 modules are particularly well-suited to hot climates and boast an improved cell efficiency up to 21.6 percent. New anti-reflection glass reduces scattering of incoming light and these modules are designed to soak up more of the morning and evening sun.
Solimpeks has recently entered into a new agreement to distribute Panasonic products in Turkey and the Mercan Mermer plant is their first gig. They started big.
Commissioned in April for an estimated May completion date, the PV array will cost in the region of €850,000. And unlike residential systems that allow homeowners to feed energy back into the grid, the stone factory is expected to use every watt for its own operations.
“The project has been designed to maximise energy usage rather than attract FiT [Feed in Tariffs,]” Solimpeks Director Daniel Barber told Green Prophet. “We would envisage that MM uses all solar generated energy.”
With 35 years experience in the solar industry, Solimpeks is no newcomer to the field. In addition to various solar thermal projects, they are presently promoting their new hybrid Solar PV and Thermal technology - PowerVolt & PowerTherm.
We can expect to see more of them in Turkey, and hopefully elsewhere in the region. The solar industry is officially on fire.