German solar company sees potential in Turkey, UK and China

As the German solar photovoltaic (PV) market matures, IBC Solar is expanding its international operations with new affiliates in Turkey, the United Kingdom and China “in order to exploit the PV potential available in Europe and Asia”.
German solar company sees potential in Turkey, UK and China

IBC Solar explains that Turkey, in particular, is “a very promising environment for PV-based power generation”. At an average sunshine duration of 7.2 hours per day and 2,640 hours per year, Turkey offers excellent irradiance values, according to the National Institute for Power-Generation Studies. The region has the potential to generate approximately 380 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year, which is more than in many parts of Europe.

A renewable-energy legislation recently passed by the Turkish parliament defines new guidelines for feed-in tariffs. The feed-in tariff is $0.133 (€0.10) per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for owners commissioning a PV installation before the end of 2015. If components ‘made in Turkey’ are used, the tariff will increase by up to $0.067 depending on the material mix. Feed-in tariffs apply to all types of PV installations. Large PV power plants will receive subsidies up to a maximum size of 600 MWp. Natural and legal persons are eligible to receive the subsidies for a duration of ten years, and utilities are obliged to buy the ‘green’ PV electricity.

“The Turkish economy has experienced a rapid development with an average growth rate of 7.5%, and the country’s energy demand has increased accordingly“, said Sahin Balkan, managing director of the Turkish subsidiary IBC Solar Yat. ve Tic. Ltd. Şti. located in Istanbul. “However, as the energy supply structures have not been expanded at the same pace, Turkey is facing an energy crisis according to a recent study published by the energy distribution company TEIAS. By expanding the PV field, we want to reduce our country’s dependency on energy imports.“

Almost as good as in Germany

Although irradiation in the UK is less than in Turkey, the southern regions in particular almost reach the German level. While the UK mainly focused on wind power in the past, it is now planning to reach its climate protection goals using PV. The current feed-in tariff for PV installations on new buildings is 36.1 pence (currently approx. €0.42), while 41.3 pence will be paid for installations on renovated existing buildings. Operators of installations up to 10kWp get a rate of 36.1 pence while the rate for larger installations up to 100kWp is 31.4 pence. The feed-in tariff for PV power plants between 100kWp and 5MWp is 29.3 pence (currently approx. €0.35). The feed-in tariff is paid for 25 years and is financed using an apportionment scheme similar to the German system. Subsidies are equally granted for fed-in and internally used PV electricity.

“A reliable feed-in tariff system is the key for building up a nationwide PV coverage,” explained Norbert Hahn, CEO of IBC Solar AG. “This equally applies to Turkey and the UK. We are planning to further unlock these new, attractive markets in the years to come and to build a network of partners. Our goal is to share our decades of PV experience and to further extend the use of green PV energy.”

Bound for boom

The PV sector is continually growing in China as well, not only because the country is a large module supplier. Sharply increasing energy costs make China a very promising market for renewable energy, says IBC Solar. The Chinese government has clearly stated that subsidies will be focused on wind energy and photovoltaic. 20 Gigawatts of solar energy are to be produced by 2020, potentially replacing around 20 nuclear power plants. The Chinese government has already been promoting rooftop installations since 2009.

As a result of its potential, IBC Solar gained a foothold in the Chinese market some time ago. Since March, 2010, the company has been acting as a consultant for the Chinese Department of Construction for the training and certification of PV installers. In trainings and seminars, the company shares its knowledge concerning PV power generation.

“The Department of Construction plans to train employees of construction companies interested in the PV sector. This will include sound technical training and an insight into the general legal framework,” reveals Sebastian Trimpl, Managing Director of IBC Solar China Co. Ltd.

IBC Solar currently employs around 400 employees, of which approximately 280 are in Germany.

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