What are Solar3GW’s Main Goals?
1) In the energy sector in our country, a rush to establish an association has started in recent years. I guess we are the country with the most non-governmental organizations in the world. Why did you decide to establish another association with such a situation? Wouldn’t it be better to act within the present?
We define ourselves as a think tank rather than an association. We will search for ways to add new solar energy capacity to our country’s electricity generation mix, develop solutions and strategies to achieve this, prepare reports that reveal them and make them accessible to everyone. We will also explain these to the public and the public. With the consciousness we will create in this way, we aim at the development of the sector as a whole and therefore the country. Our focus on providing benefits will not only be limited to our members, but also the whole sector. In this sense, we are different from existing associations. On the one hand, we will stand at an equal distance to all stakeholders, regardless of whether we are a member or not, as we consider the benefits of the whole together. We will be on the side of the whole in a possible conflict of benefits between individuals and the industry as a whole. Our current and future members have joined us with all this awareness and will be participating. That’s why we emerged as a new establishment. Since think tanks have no place in the legislation as a legal entity in our country, the legal entity that suits us best was an association. Because we will not only suggest solutions, but also explain them to the public, and it is advantageous to be a legal entity to be addressed in public institutions.
2) Solar3GW is a very different name, usually the association names in the industry end in -DER or -D. Is there a specific reason for this? Solar is not a Turkish word either?
In fact, it is hidden in the answer to the above question why there is no extension in our name that evokes “association”. Because we are a think tank that will conduct research advocating a specific strategy and publish outputs in this direction. In this sense, we wanted to reflect our difference from existing associations in our name. On the other hand, to create a goal with overseas organizations related to our solar industry in Turkey the bridge. That’s why we used the word “solar” in our name, which is known all over the world about the sun. On the other hand, the word “Solar”, despite not being Turkish, is a word that is widely used in our country and is well known by everyone.
3) How would you answer if I asked what are the 3 main purposes of Solar3GW?
To spread the awareness that solar energy is actually the cleanest and most economical resource by increasing awareness about the effects of climate change and the speed and direction of technological development.
With this awareness, to conduct researches on ways to add 3 GW of new solar energy capacity to our electricity generation mix every year in our country, to share them with the entire sector and the public through reports, and to initiate legislation in this direction.
To be a fully transparent source of accurate and unbiased information in the sector.
4) On which topics does Solar3GW aim to prepare and share updated reports? How were these topics chosen and how is an objective perspective provided while preparing?
Our first report is already complete. In this report, we gave the main headings of why 3 GW of solar power is necessary and how it is possible every year. Our next reports will be of a nature that will detail these main topics. In our second report, which is about to be completed, we explained our post-2020 business model proposals to create 3 GW of solar energy capacity every year. Here, “self-consumption”, “YETA” (renewable energy supply agreement) known as “green PPA” abroad, and “licensed without incentives, no tender” models, where no guarantees are given to the producer in terms of price or purchase, and only the connection opinion is arranged according to the network needs of the point of application. we recommend. Our third report will examine the locality of equipment in solar power plants. As an establishment, our idea here is to support the production of domestic equipment not with measures restricting the entry of foreign equipment into the country, but with practices that encourage the use of domestic equipment or reduce the cost burden of industrialists producing domestic equipment. We started to prepare this report as well. We choose our topics based on the fastest action possible in order to create a sustainable solar capacity in our country. Since our aim here is to act with accurate and unbiased information, we think that we do not need to do anything extra to provide an objective perspective. Our belief that everyone in the sector should be given the chance to achieve and realize this capacity with equal opportunities by expressing the facts, is the biggest guarantee of our objectivity.
5) What are the biggest obstacles to creating new solar capacity? As we all know, some of these obstacles are public-sourced. What kind of activities will Solar3GW do in Ankara (such as Ministry of Energy-Presidency-EMRA) to change these. How will it change the opinions and thoughts of the public?
The biggest obstacle is that solar energy as a renewable resource is not perceived as a very cheap resource. However, technological developments are at such a dizzying speed here, and the costs are coming down at an incredible rate. We aim to ensure that the public follows this.
On the other hand, another obstacle is the perception that solar energy is seen as a secondary source of electricity, and therefore, by disrupting the grid balance, the capacity granted to them in transformer substations is limited. However, with battery storage costs coming back rapidly, it is now possible to think and operate solar power plants as base load power plants. Both base load, clean energy source and an inexpensive local source solar energy. Here, too, we aim to explain technological developments to the public in order for our country to catch up with the age.
6) You have a well-known HES and SPP investor position in the industry, why did you do such a job? Isn’t “association” a difficult and time consuming activity? What is your personal motivation for this?
Just like you said, I am a renewable energy investor. With the effect of technological developments in recent years, I have actually turned to solar energy to a large extent. It gives me great satisfaction to imagine, design and implement projects from scratch. Unfortunately, in recent years, legislation in our country has not made it possible to establish a new solar power plant. Unfortunately, this fact was not mentioned much in the sector. However, I think that both the survival of human beings in the world and the economic development of the country are directly related to solar energy. Therefore, I thought that instead of complaining about the current situation, it would be best to take action, to take responsibility, and to act together with industry stakeholders who think like me. I wanted to find ways to spread solar energy. Thus, investors as well as I’ll do my job, I found a contribution to future generations to leave a livable environment in Turkey and economic prosperity could say I feel. Moreover, once I set out on the road, the support of my friends and the synergy created in the new formation created a brand new motivation for me.
7) Many associations in our industry have become advertising agencies of 2-3 people after a while, some of them now operate as news portals. We know that there are many industry players complaining about this situation. What are the measures you have taken to prevent Solar3GW from experiencing similar processes? Because each new disappointment further reduces the sector’s belief and trust in CSOs.
As the founders, we especially emphasized this issue and even in our charter, we have included articles to ensure that the association is always an association for the service of the whole. Even if there are legal entities, we have made it necessary to have individuals on the board of directors with their own names. We wrote the principle of not using the names and symbols of the association and the names and symbols of the company verbally and in writing, otherwise we arranged the sanction to be expelled from the association. We attributed the membership to the association to the references of at least three members, two of them from the founders, in order to select new members who will pay utmost attention to this principle. We tell every new member that the association exists not for the promotion of the members, but to produce solutions that will benefit the whole industry without expecting personal benefit. When everyone joins us conscious of this, I think we will not experience an unwanted transformation as you mentioned. As the founders, we will always follow this.
8) The climate crisis and the related equitable transformation, the termination of fossil fuels are one of the main agendas of the world. Unfortunately, our country is not fast and brave enough in this regard. However, each thermal power plant to be closed will create capacity for a new clean power plant. What kind of work will you do on this subject? Will the climate crisis be on your agenda?
The climate crisis is our first agenda. As we have written in our charter, raising awareness on this issue is one of our main activities. Going forward, one of our reports will be about this transformation. We will process one by one the ways in which thermal power plants can be closed and how the people working here can be employed in our sector, and we will explain them to the public and the public in every environment. This is of great importance not only for the reduction of the effects of climate change, but also for those working in the thermal power plant and related mines to find jobs in a cleaner sector and work in more favorable conditions. In this regard, we see the new combined source (hybrid) power plants regulation change as an opportunity. Thanks to this change, GES with very high power can be installed in the open coal mining areas of coal-fired power plants. Thus, rapid progress can be made in both electricity generation and the transformation of employment.
9) There is a confusion about domestic production in our country, some say everything is 100% domestic and national, another segment is free market conditions, let us bring and use the product we want from anywhere in the world at affordable prices, so we can provide cheap finance from abroad. He says let’s reduce the cost of electricity generation. Is it possible to strike a balance between two opposing views? What do you think about anti-dumping-surveillance applications?
We think that domestic production can only be possible with know-how. Otherwise, producing all the elements of an equipment within the borders of the country does not provide enough added value in our opinion. The most widely used mobile phones are either made in America or Korea, but these are all the hardware elements in our pockets without seeing the borders of these countries. Now, is it possible to call them Chinese, Taiwanese or Vietnamese? But ultimately, their designs are made in the United States and Korea, and the income from their sales goes to these countries. In our opinion, these are the criteria to be sought in terms of indigenousness. On the other hand, it is critical that the know-how to be obtained will also be directed to which product. In terms of value added semi-finished products, instead of the final product, domesticity is of course more strategic in terms of preventing the budget deficit and creating a qualified workforce. In particular, we consider it important to focus on emerging and promising new technologies, rather than just focusing on existing silicon technology.
We think that antidumping and surveillance practices should be ended. Because we live in a global world. Unfortunately, these practices cause the equipment to be more expensive in our industry, which has question marks in the minds of investors about quality. We attach great importance to domestic production. However, not with imports restricting domestic production such as antidumping and surveillance, encouraging investors to use domestic products (such as YEKDEM Schedule-2 application) or supporting domestic producers (tax, insurance discounts, discounts in cheap land, electricity and water money, R&D incentives) and grants, etc.). Actually, this is the truth. As a matter of fact, if we look at how much the antidumping and surveillance practices that have been in force for 3 years can affect our industry’s export figures, we will have a better idea about whether they are useful or not.
Our third report, which we are currently preparing as Solar3GW, will examine the domestic equipment production in the solar sector in all its details and offer suggestions on what needs to be done in this regard.
10) What message do you have to companies that want to become a Solar3GW member, how can they get in touch with you? Who can be a member? Are there certain criteria?
I want those who want to become a member of us to know that we are an organization that aims to increase the whole sector at the same time and does not discriminate between any stakeholders of the sector in order to grow the sector. For this, our main principle is to know that we always aim to be the source of accurate and unbiased information and to share information transparently with everyone in the sector, whether we are a member or not. In our opinion, if the rules of the game are equal for everyone and the game is open to everyone, whether big or small, good players; whether it is an investor, an EPC or a consultant; they can showcase their skills and eventually expand their business. Of course, an industry made up of good players shines. Therefore, I want them to know that our only goal is a stable growing solar energy sector with equal opportunity. We do this not only for material benefit, but also for the future of humanity in the world and the economic prosperity of our country. We do not expect any personal benefits other than these very important indirect benefits. So it’s actually a kind of charity we do. We expect those who are aware of this and see it as a suitable and good goal to join us. In order to become a member, we do not have any criteria other than the references of at least three members, two of which are founders. They can apply for membership by filling out the membership application form on our website or by contacting us on our social media accounts.