President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan officially inaugurated what is said to be Europe’s biggest solar power plant built on a single site and one of the five largest in the world on Tuesday. In another landmark announcement during the ceremony, he also announced that Turkey has also discovered high-quality petroleum in southeastern Anatolia with a daily production capacity of 100,000 barrels.
"Turkey will no longer be a country in need of energy resources but will rather be a country capable of energy export," the president told the audience attending the inauguration ceremony.
Developed by Kalyon Energy, an affiliate of one of Turkey’s top conglomerates, Kalyon Holding, the solar plant in the central province of Konya boasts an installed capacity of 1,350 megawatts (MW).
The Kalyon Karapınar Solar Power Plant promises to help Turkey curb its vast energy imports and back its drive to boost renewable energy production that has already been propelled by large-scale solar and wind power tenders.
More than 3.2 million solar panels at the facility are to generate 3 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually, enough to provide power to 2 million people and prevent the use of $450 million of fossil fuel equivalent resources.
The $1 billion plant has already started producing electricity, will prevent 1.5 million tons of carbon emissions annually and increase the share of solar energy in Turkey’s total energy production by 20%.
Kalyon Holding, in August last year, agreed to sell a 50% stake in Kalyon Energy to the Abu Dhabi conglomerate International Holding Co (IHC) for about $490 million. The transaction included the solar power project in Karapınar, in addition to another one in the Gaziantep region and a wind power project in Ankara.
Kalyon Energy developed the plant as part of the country's Renewable Energy Resource Zone (YEKA), a government initiative to establish renewable facilities in areas with a high concentration of at least one renewable energy source, such as wind or solar power.