German solar module manufacturer Astronergy has received an import licence from the Turkish Ministry of Economics permitting the supply of 100 MW of capacity to Turkish solar PV projects.
The company is one of the few international manufacturers of solar modules to receive an import licence from Turkey, enabling the company to begin establishing additional production lines at its plant in Frankfurt (Oder). Until last year, foreign manufacturers enjoyed easy access to the Turkish market for solar modules, but the Turkish Government now prefers domestic manufacturers with contracts for which it provides tax incentives in order to ramp up Turkish domestic production capacities. As a result, the Turkish Ministry of Economics has strictly limited the import of PV modules from abroad. Import licenses are highly sought after by foreign suppliers, as experts expect Turkey to add up to 3 gigawatts of PV capacity over the next two years through major projects alone.
Astronergy already has supply contracts to deliver the first 50 MW of modules to Turkey in the form of the ASM6610P module. The company benefitted greatly from its long-standing contacts with EPC Solmotion and its Turkish subsidiaries. Another factor in the company winning the contract is the very high demand for premium-quality German modules in Turkey.
“The local investors are specifically asking for high-quality modules, and they are prepared to pay more for them” said Thomas Volz, the CEO of German-based Astronergy. “Quality is worth it, because losses in yield are far less common than they are with PV projects that use poor quality modules. Our highly automated production also ensures that our module quality is not only very high, but also consistent. That’s why, for example, we have an extremely low complaint rate of only 0.005 percent – word of this has clearly spread throughout the market.”
At the plant in Frankfurt (Oder), the modules are checked for microcracks and cell fracture quickly, at high resolution and fully automatically using an electroluminescence-based process, which is the only one of its kind in the world. Other strict internal and external testing ensures that the quality of Astronergy’s modules is well above certification standards. International banks primarily support PV projects which use components from tier 1 manufacturers and Bloomberg lists Astronergy as a tier 1 supplier. This means that the company has a proven track record of reliability in terms of module quality, supply and financial stability.
Astronergy is the German subsidiary of a Chinese company, Astronergy Solarmodule GmbH (ASM) which is part of the Chint Group and which specialises in crystalline solar modules. The production line has a total capacity of 340 megawatts (MW), and is one of the most modern manufacturing facilities in the world. ASM employs around 350 members of staff and is itself listed as a tier 1 supplier. The Chint Group was founded 30 years ago and consists of eight subsidiaries and over 2,000 distribution centres around the world, employing over 30,000 people.
Image: Astronergy solar PV modules near the City of Cine in Western Turkey