Turkey’s solar power has exceeded a highly anticipated threshold of 10,000 megawatts (MW), according to the latest industry data, as the country ramps up efforts to ensure renewable energy sources make up a bigger slice of the supply.
Turkey’s overall installed electricity capacity increased to 104.6 gigawatts (GW) as of May 16, with solar energy reaching 10,007 megawatts, comprised of power plants spread across 78 provinces. Thirty-five of these boast plants featuring over 100 MW of capacity.
The drive to curb vast energy imports over the last two decades has seen Turkey reach a level where renewables account for over half of the country's total installed power capacity.
Exceeding the installed solar power capacity of 10,000 megawatts “is an extremely important milestone for the sector,” said Cem Özkök, head of the Energy Investors Association (GÜYAD).
Additions of solar capacity are aimed to lift the overall figure to 52,900 MW as of 2035, according to the Energy and Natural Resources Ministry’s National Energy Plan unveiled in mid-January.
Özkök said nearly one-fifth of this figure has already been achieved, stressing rapid progress in both licensed and unlicensed power plants.
The government initiative seeks to establish facilities in areas with a high concentration of at least one renewable energy source. YEKA projects feature investments from local investors and/or consortiums to manufacture equipment and construct large-scale plants.
“To achieve the goals in the National Energy Plan, it is envisaged to realize an installed power of 3,000 megawatts every year. The sector has the capacity, knowledge and determination to do this,” said Özkök.
Meanwhile, more than 1,000 MW of solar and wind energy capacity each is expected to be added to the country’s renewable portfolio in 2023.
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), Turkey is forecast to see around 64% growth in its renewable energy capacity to 90 GW in the next five years, with almost 75% of this addition being solar and wind.
The growth will help it rank fourth in Europe and among the 10 biggest renewable markets in the world.
Konya hosts most of the solar capacity, Özkok said, referring to the central province that is home to Kalyon Karapınar, said to be Europe’s biggest solar power plant built on a single site and one of the five largest in the world.
The plant, whose installations started in 2020, was officially inaugurated by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan earlier this month, and boasts an installed capacity of 1,350 megawatts.