Turkey connects first utility-scale CIS thin-film project

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Turkey’s first utility-scale CIS thin-film PV plant has now been commissioned, using modules supplied by Japanese company Solar Frontier and following a construction period of just three months.

The 1MW facility is in Kayseri Province, central Turkey, and marks the first of a number of projects Solar Frontier is expected to supply this year.

With the use of tracking technology, it is predicted that it will produce 19GWh of power in the first year of its operation. It was developed by Smart Energy Group, a Turkish company which has developed PV plants in countries including Greece, Bulgaria and Romania as well as its homeland. Smart Energy Group will also provide operation and maintenance (O&M) services to the plant, named Ege Sarioglan GES.

Yapi Kredi, a major Turkish bank, provided financing, while Bulgarian company Smart Solar carried out engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services. The plant was commissioned by two utilities, Turkish Electricity Distribution (TEDAS) and Kayseri and Vicinity Electricity Turkish (KCETAS). Construction was completed in July and the plant was connected in August.

“Our latest solar power plant sets a new solar power plant performance benchmark in Turkey because we know what CIS can do compared to other solar energy technologies – in terms of performance, economics and quality,” Smart Energy Group’s CEO, Halil Demirdağ, said.

Thin-film advocates

Solar Frontier, which earlier this year reached 3GW of installations worldwide, claimed CIS modules are particularly appropriate for the region for a number of reasons, including a low temperature co-efficient. This means that even in the expected high temperatures experienced in the area, the plant will continue to generate decent yields, according to the company.

Turkey is a market of growing interest for the solar industry, with major players entering the region and industry sources namechecking it as one of the most interesting regions for PV in Europe at present. In April, Solar Frontier signed a 23MW module supply deal for other projects in the country.

The Ege Sarioglan GES plant in Kayseri includes two 500kW central inverters, utilising 6,768 Solar Frontier modules with 170W nominal power.

Solar Frontier has been vocal in its advocacy of CIS thin film’s suitability in global PV markets, with CEO Atsuhiko Hirano offering a robust defence of the technology in an interview with PV Tech earlier this year. Analyst Finlay Colville of Solar Media’s Solar Intelligence said that the recent 3GW milestone for the company was evidence that despite challenges, the copper indium gallium selenide modules (also referred to as CIGS), “can work”.

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