As part of Turkey's Demir Group plans to increase solar panel production from 30 megawatts to 500 megawatts in its Konya factory by the year end, the company is negotiating with Chinese solar panel producers, CEO of the company told Anadolu Agency on Friday.
Hamit Demir, CEO of the Demir Group, said the company for its first phase of expansion, aims to boost production from the current 30 megawatts to 250 megawatts by May 1.
The Demir Group aims to reach a $25 million export volume due to increased panel production at the factory, he explained.
Demir said they currently export panels to Bosnia Herzegovina, Macedonia, Kazakstan, Ukraine and to other African countries. He added that the company's investments are not limited to panel production but they are also involved with the construction of solar power plant in some of these countries. These plants are then handed over to the state to run or in some cases, the company maintains a small share, he explained.
"We will continue to do this, and we calculate that our total investments both in panel production and plants abroad will be around $500 million by mid-2019," he said.
Demir disclosed that the majority of the panels produced in Konya are for export, contributing to the expansion of Turkey's export volume.
"After we complete capacity increases in our panel production, we want our export volume to increase to $100 million by mid-2019," he said.
Demir also said that discussions with Chinese companies to partner for panel production in Turkey offers Chinese panel companies an alternative market option in Turkey. This is relevant given Trump administration's decision to impose global tariffs on solar panel imports to the U.S., a fact that would hurt Chinese exports to the country.
President Donald Trump signed off on two trade actions to impose steep tariffs on foreign-made solar panels and washing machines this year.
"Some state Chinese companies want to produce panels in Turkey by partnering with Turkish companies. We believe that we can contribute a lot to the sector and to the next generation by bringing Chinese capital and technology to Turkey," Demir said.
He confirmed that solar cells are already imported from China for panel production in Turkey and that the next step would be to generate the cells in Turkey so the products can be 100 percent Turkish-made.
By Nuran Erkul Kaya and Gulsen Cagatay