Enerji Diary – Alfa Solar, one of the oldest solar panel manufacturers in Turkey, is looking to expand its investments and expand its field of operations. Hüseyin Karabaş, Vice Chairman and CEO of Alfa Solar, answered Energy Diary’s questions.
The agenda in the solar energy industry is fierce, what is your agenda?
A topic that has been discussed a lot in the solar industry in Turkey in recent months is the change of the new regulations. Changes to unlicensed solar plant projects for private use are discussed. We find changes, except for the limit of sales on the national grid, positive for projects whose connection opinions were received before 2019. There is a lot of public pressure on it, we hope it will be corrected.
What were the positive changes?
It is very good that the requirements for those who wish to install unlicensed SPPs within the same area as the area of use of the facility have been removed. In summary, an industrialist in Istanbul can establish his power plant in Van, Mardin, wherever he wants, in all regions of Turkey. A very important development for us. Because industrialists had problems in building power plants in areas where land was very expensive, especially in the Marmara region.
What other innovations are there?
Regulation has been issued regarding the investment of hybrid plants. The restriction of 15 percent of the primary power assigned to the secondary resource in hybrid plants has been removed. This is a very important development for us. We think that these changes will lead to a significant increase in solar demand, especially next year on an installed capacity basis.
When we say the full roof, the business has moved to the ground again for the needs of the industrialist, so there is nothing wrong?
You are right about one thing. Of course, no major investment has been made in electricity transmission infrastructure in recent years. But apart from this, a rule on conservation was also given. I expect that with storage control, this issue can be solved to some extent. We, as an industry, see a large investment in storage in the last quarter and 2023. Because of the future of energy is obviously power plants and storage. For one thing, power plants based on renewable resources will not overload the national grid. Because the power plants that you will use where you produce and produce where you use will spread.
Are you going to make stock investments too?
Yes, we, as a company, started talking about investing in this area. But it’s clear, we don’t have an investment plan that I can explain at the moment. But in the coming years, we definitely want to hold positions and invest. Because like I said, the future of energy is conservation. There’s a charging craze in storage now, you know, you must be following it. In the next phase of the car charging shock, everyone will turn to storage, we have to.
So, how widespread will roof SPPs be in residential areas?
Although the industrialist is facing rising electricity prices and feels compelled to make this investment, we think that the domestic market will also pick up the pace. There is already a movement. Of course, on that front, there is a lack of roofs in high-rise buildings. In other words, since it is not suitable in apartments, it will be more concentrated in detached houses. In fact, I can say that there is a great movement and that we are doing great sales there. In fact, there are not many loan opportunities in local projects, currently those who have money in their pocket can do it, the poor. Hopefully, if the banks also play a role, local projects will be able to spread in a way that will reduce the load on the network.
Alpha SolarHis position in the sector, what is his share?
In the field of solar energy investment in Turkey, only TEIAS publishes the installed capacity report. There is also no manufacturer-specific installed capacity report. Therefore, although we do not fully know what those who say that our equipment was used in these power plants are doing, we can count our own part in the total. We have a market share of more than 10 percent in our existing solar power plants. Therefore, one out of every 10 panels used is undoubtedly Alfa Solar. We know this from our own statistics and according to the total announced by TEİAŞ.
We are one of the first companies to produce solar energy panels in Turkey. We are a company established in 2011. Of course, we started active production in 2014-2015 as there was no regulation at that time. The event, which started with a 30 MW production line, has now reached the level of 1500 MW (1 Gigawatt – GW). We aim to exceed that in the coming year. We had to make these investments to meet demand.
I think he needs data to see the distribution of the market…
When buying solar panel production lines, machine manufacturers sell us as if they will never fail. That is why, for example, the line data, which we said will produce 500 MW, is 700 MW on paper. When the machine manufacturers talk, it seems like there is a lot of power installed in Turkey. That is why we now say actual production data. If everyone in the industry does this, we can see the real potential of solar panel production in our country. Turkey is currently on its way to becoming number two in the world.
What about other solar devices?
We are also very good in construction, we also have very good cable companies. There is no single inverter. In fact, it was started, and its work continues. In other words, we can say that Turkey has become the base of the sun. There are also many new factories built especially on the solar side. Here we can see all our strength if everyone gives their true strength. We can confirm to everyone that we are the base of production.
Is there no risk of creating idle panel production capacity with all this investment?
If you are setting up a factory or expanding your capacity by focusing only on Turkey, there is definitely a situation for you. But if your goal is world markets and you can produce properly, then there is no such problem.
What are the local manufacturing requirements for all these devices?
At the end of the day, when we look at the data of previous years, we put between 1-2 GW (1000-2000 MW) per year in our country. We expect the next year to be very good, personally I expect the installation of 4 GW in 2023. I say again, if you put the factory capacity of 20 GW for the installation of 4 GW, of course there will be idle capacity. That means there is a big risk. But again, like I said, you have to aim for the world, that’s what we do.
What do you plan to do in the next few years?
After this time, we aim to grow by establishing subsidiaries. We can create partnerships when we have capabilities in the production of panel materials, glass and framing. We were doing installation works, since 2017 we don’t want to do EPC projects either. In fact, we are a company with the mindset that everyone should do their own work. Therefore, from 2023, we want to move forward by establishing partnerships where we find the best in this field, excluding cells.
What? will there be cells?
Currently, we do not have any plans to establish a cell center. Hopefully, it is in our view after 2023. Cell work has come to our table three times before. We read the feasibility reports on all of them and decided that we are not ready for it yet. If we are ready one day, know that there will be a line of business that we will enter into the head. Because we already have a very bad attitude.
How do you finance the investments you have made or will make?
Our company financed the first phase and working capital part of the new investment for its resources. By the last quarter of the year, we have a public offering plan. Our file is on CMB, and we aim to go public next month. We aim to raise funding from there. In other words, we can say that we finance new investments with equity as well as income from public offerings.
Mehmet KARA – Energy Diary