We laid the foundations of energy independence in Niğde Bor

In a bid to bring the Niğde Bor project to life, our well-equipped team of experts have been working on this for a long time and with the ’super initiative’ that we received for our “100% Domestic Solar Panel for Energy Independence” project, we laid the foundations of our project with a groundbreaking ceremony which was accompanied by Our Ministry of Energy, the Niğde Deputy, the Niğde governor and other valuable public on the 11th of March, 2019.

I had previously written many articles about our “Integrated Solar Panel Production Plant” project in Niğde Bor. You can find the links to these posts below:

https://www.serhansuzer.com/tr/enerji-bagimsizligi-icin-100-yerli-gunes-paneli

https://www.serhansuzer.com/tr/turkiye-enerji-bagimsizligi-icin-100-yerli-gunes-paneline-kavusuyor

https://www.serhansuzer.com/tr/turkiye-icin-milat-niteliginde-bir-gunes-enerjisi-projesi
 

To summarise these articles, we took the first step of this project on Monday, which we had dreamed about for 6 years, applied for incentives 2 years ago, which was published in the Official Gazette in June last year and received 4.2 billion in incentives.

We had been planning the groundbreaking ceremony in Niğde for a long time. The date in our minds to lay the foundations of our factory was for the month of May. The Niğde Deputy, Mr Yavuz Ergun called me a few weeks ago to say, “Mr Serhan, the Minister of Energy, Mr Fatih Sönmez will come to our city on the 11th of March. Can we make this the day you lay your foundations?” to which I answered that we had planned to lay the foundations in May, but if they had such demands, of course we could bring the date forward. I advised that I would speak to my team members and call him back with confirmation.
 

The intensive preparation for an opening in 2 months


After talking to the relevant managers and the contractor to prepare the site, I called the Niğde deputy back and told him that although the deadline was very limited, that we were able to organise the opening for the 11th of March. After completing my words with “Good luck to us for the opening ceremony for the 11th of March”, I called the team again and told them that we must start taking action and get started on the preparations.

As a classic style of Turkey, I could say the preparations were still continuing up until the last day. I wish we could properly plan and execute things like the Germans. Unfortunately, however, this is not possible in Turkey. Fortunately, we were able to develop the pitch with the help of the good weather, even though we were working on short time before the opening. I can honestly say that the hard work of Mr Serdar, the boss of the contracting firm and the other Mr Serdar, the boss of the organization company, worked very hard in coordination with our team. The super works of the Niğde Special Administration team to develop the roads to reach our site also contributed to the quick preparation.

In summary, everyone worked really hard, day and night, in order to complete the required work. I also went to Niğde once during this time. I was relieved to see all interested parties and see that everything was proceeding as planned.

In the last few days, the entire team that prepared the site for the groundbreaking ceremony was now relieved and were completing the final bits. The only question we had in mind was that the weather forecasts were showing that the wind speed would be too high during the opening. In such strong winds, chairs could fly.

We talked about the precautions to be taken and had back up plans. We were ready for the opening ceremony.

We went to Niğde via Ankara with our financial advisor Mr Bora and cameraman Mr Evren for the groundbreaking ceremony that was to take place on Monday, March 11th. The excitement of the groundbreaking ceremony began to kick in early the next morning.

 

My opening speech with mass messages

At 9.00am, we attended the coordination meeting at the governorship office as a team. After that, we all went and gathered to our site where the ceremony was to take place. After final examinations and the last-minute routine checks, I started to write my speech on one of the tables where the cocktails would be held. I wasn't prepared due to such limited time. But that was okay, because I there was a lot on my mind that I wanted to say and relay. Within half an hour, I put my speech together on paper.

Actually, I was planning to convey my thoughts without writing anything, but I thought it would be better to note the things that were on my mind to avoid skipping anything because I was going to address important issues against a huge crowd.

I would like to share the video of my opening speech with many messages:

 

 

For your better understanding, I'll share the full text of the conversation and a description of the messages I've given (you can find my annotations in parentheses just below the messages):

 



 

Dear Minister, Honorable Governor, Members of Parliament and esteemed participants,

 

First of all, I want to say thank you.

 

For making a significant contribution to our investment and awarding us with a project-based incentive system, I would like to firstly thank, Mr Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the President of the Republic of Turkey, the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Mr Fatih Dönmez, Minister of Industry and Technology, Mr Mustafa Varank, Minister of Finance and Treasury, Mr. Berat Albayrak, Minister of Commerce, Mr Ruhsar Pekcan, the Former Minister of Economy,

Mr. Nihat Zeybekçi, the Governor of Niğde, where we always feel close and interested in our investment preparation and planning processes, Mr Yılmaz Şimşek, and the Deputies of Niğde, Mr Yavuz Ergun and Mr Selim Gültekin. I would also like to express my gratitude to the Mayor of Bor, Mr Sıtkı Erat.
(To avoid skipping anyone, I noted these names directly from my written speech).

Now, let’s come to the project… 

 

  • We are one of 19 companies that received a Super Incentive. The Super Incentive we received is around 4.2 billion TL.

(This is made up of two figures. The amount of the investment made is 3.8 billion TL but the actual incentive to be received is around 4.2 billion TL).

 

  • There is a false perception around the incentive. Everybody perceives it as a national lottery. This perception is not correct.

 

  • This incentive will apply to tax and other operational issues after investing $700 million and starting production and earning revenue.

 

(This is exactly the case. Everyone thinks that the government just gave us money, they spread this kind of perception around, consciously or unconsciously. But this is not true. Only after we invested $700 million and commissioned the factory and made payments towards taxes, customs and electricity obligations, this incentive was granted. Therefore, if there is no investment, there is no incentive. in a period of serious economic depression, I wonder who would start such an investment in this period?)
 

  • In such strategic investments, the incentive mechanism for attracting such a large capital to our country is really critical.

 

  • After a long period of preparation for the investment in this factory, we are ready in every way and we are now laying the foundations. All we need here to accelerate our business is to facilitate the entry of foreign capital into our country in order to continue this business with a sound financing structure. We have submitted our request to the Ministry of Industry and Technology therefore, we are expecting a final approval from them.

(After obtaining the permission from the Ministry of Industry and Technology, we will complete the process of foreign capital. In this period, we need to obtain this permission to complete the configuration necessary to bring such capital to our country).
 

  • Our project area is approximately 620 acres. That equates to about 85 football fields.

(I saw Deniz in Ankara a day ago. Deniz asked this exact question. You remember Deniz from my previous blog post. The wonderful kid who I helped to push his wheelchair with our Adim Adim friends in the Runatolia marathon. To make it easier for people to envisage, I calculated the land size according to the size football fields).
 

  • Everybody asks what we are going to do on such a large terrain, and I remind them that we will build a giant plant in crystal technology, where 4 important processes such as ingot, wafer, cell and module production are together. In fact, our space is sufficient for 2 GW production. Therefore, we will double the planned 1 GW capacity if necessary.

(I hope to increase the capacity to 2 GW from the demand boom in the future). 

 

  • If we can carry out this investment, Niğde will be the center of the solar energy in Turkey, Turkey will become one of the most important conjuncture centres of solar energy in the world.

(This is the plan we have in mind, to reach this point).
 

  • We are planning to employ 1,500 people in our factory, and with our attraction power, the employment here will increase to 5,000 with 1st class solar power companies. I want to give you two messages here.

 

  • Firstly, our criteria for recruitment will be merit based. So whoever is good at work, is qualified, has good character and is hard-working, we'll hire them. Even my relatives who do not meet these criteria cannot work on our site. Our position on this issue is clear. We will operate the same procedure and criteria for everyone in the field of human resources.
    (We will not make any concessions on this issue. No one should come and try to obtain employment just because they are our relatives, locals or relatives of relatives. As I mentioned in my speech, we will operate the same human resources procedure for everyone. It will not be enough to be qualified in the job. We will perform character tests. We will hire people with good and positive characters).
     
  • My second message is that we want to make the solar energy base here and we want to gather around us the first class companies that produce inverters, solar cables, construction equipment and battery systems. We are absolutely against the gathering of non-sectoral firms or second, third-class firms that are never known in our sector which is the “Solar Energy Specialized Area”. Non-sector goods, potatoes and leather companies should be located on the other side of Bor OSB (industrial park) and first class solar energy companies should be gathered on our side. This is the right planning. We also informed the relevant media about our requests for this.

(Although I have repeatedly warned the Bor OSB (Industrial Park) director about this matter - which they have always agreed with me on, unfortunately, mistakes have been made. I will not go into details here, but I am waiting for the rectifications of those mistakes).
 

  • We plan to export from Mersin Port to the world and we will export 80% of the products we produce in our long-term planning.

(If there is no demand in Turkey, we are ready to export 100% of the products we produce. However, we are also aware that it is people of our land which need the most of these products. To fully benefit from the Sun with the political will of corrections to be made in the laws and regulations, I would like to specify that as the requirement. Solar cells and panels may become available for use in every corner of the country in a very a short time).
 

  • Speaking of export, let me give you some good news. We agreed to sell 200 MW product abroad before we even started production. Now we're dealing with the preparation of the documents for this. I hope we will formalize this sale.
    (During the investment process, the ‘offtake’ agreement, which is where the product was to be sold, was very important. The demand for the first products came from Europe and South Asia. We hope to complete the documentation process soon).
     
  • Our investment will develop the region and change the face of Niğde.
    (I hope that the Niğde locals are fully aware of the changes that will come to their province. I don't expect any thanks from anyone about this. I just hope that they don’t overshadow our project, or cause difficulties, or even backbite about us doing wrong, and do not make unnecessary gossip. It's a bit of a cliché, but I really want to tell you what I'm feeling here: With such an investment, we are putting our hands under the rock, not a stone, and we are doing it ultimately for the love of our country).
     
  • Our factory will be bringing high technology to Niğde. With heterojunction technology, we will increase cell productivity to 23.5% which is the highest figure in unilateral in the world. We will continuously increase this efficiency with R&D activities.
    (I have conveyed the results of our technical meetings with this discourse).
  • In addition to heterojunction technology, we will make thin slicing with ‘Diamond Wire’ technology, we will get high efficiency with ‘SmartWire Connection’ technology and we will produce high quality products with advanced control and test systems.
    (We are working really hard to impart these technologies into Turkey).
     
  • Our first product will be a 335 W single-sided 60-cell panel. This will be followed by the production of a 420 W double-sided 60-cell panel.
    (There will be more to these numbers and not anything less).
     
  • I would like to share the scope of our R&D studies: 
    • Increasing cell productivity
    • Cost reduction
    • Technology transformation
    • Production of Hybrid panels
    • Production of Flexible panels
    • Distributed systems
    • Product development (I'm talking about the cells to be placed on the products that are needed such as flexible panel, hybrid panel, roof top, vehicle top, wheelchair, umbrella).


(As I mentioned earlier, the main mission of our company is to provide access to solar energy to all people in the world. At this point, we will have a different product range at every point where we want to produce electricity from the sun as we would have our classic solar panel products. I can't wait to start working on the details and produce new products in this direction).
 

  • We have started with the goal of 100% domestic solar panel production for energy independence, where we will provide capital inflow of 700 million dollars to the country. To this, our R&D activities will ensure that everyone has access to solar energy at every moment of their lives.
    (I have summarized my whole speech in this paragraph).


May this be of benefit to humanity, our homeland and to our nation.
(My final sentence said with all sincerity).

After me, the Niğde Deputy Mr Yavuz Ergun made a speech. Afterwards, the Governor of Niğde Mr Yılmaz Şimşek and the Minister, Mr Sönmez made their speeches. Overall everyone gave very nice messages. The importance of such an investment for the country and the province of Niğde was emphasized and the energy trend was mentioned.

I then gave out the plaques which we prepared by transforming the cells we plan to produce to the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, the governor and the deputies respectively.

 

 

 

These are the images that were captured whilst giving out the plaques. Of course, the official song of the ceremony I personally chose was “Memleketim” (my country) which played during all important moments during the ceremony.
After the ceremony, we moved onto laying the foundation. The concrete pouring tool was brought onto the platform and the button to operate this was pressed by Minister Sönmez, pouring the first concrete of the foundation.

 

 



After this, we passed on our thanks and came to the end of the ceremony.

 

Congratulations and apologies following the ceremony


Many people came up to me after the ceremony. I accepted their warm messages. There were those who wanted to take a picture with me. I tried my best to pose with everyone without offending anyone.

The most remarkable event I experienced was after the ceremony when a man approached me (the father of a young man who is also in the solar market. This young man, who I don’t know, used to make a lot of inappropriate comments about me in the market place and had even published incorrect things about me which I was shocked to see). Anyway, the father of this young man approached me, shook my hand and told he was from Bor and thanked us for providing such a facility and talked about the wells to be fed by the solar power plant. Obviously, he either has a hidden agenda or feels a sense of regret.

There were others like him who came up to me and apologized asking for my forgiveness. There were a number of people whom had insulted us and clashed with us previously. Those people came to me after the ceremony and apologized many times.

My opinion of these people is definite and clear. Personally speaking, I'd like to trust people from the start. In fact, I suffer a lot because of this. But once I erase people, my relationship with them can never go back. I don't hold grudges, but I won’t allow for these people to come near me again. By losing me completely, they are already getting the biggest punishment. And I just leave things up to God.

There are many others like these people who regret their actions and will apologize to me, stoop below their levels and cause me serious injustice. I'm telling them now. Once I manage to reflect my vision and increase the value of my work, they shouldn’t even think about coming near me.

As a result, the foundation laying ceremony was successfully completed. Even if the wind that we thought would create a problem did not cause any major problems, except when the Governor was speaking, the wind pulled against the tarpaulin behind him for 5 minutes during the ceremony. Everything else went fine.
 

Real statesmanship and a great summary


I think Mr Ali Ilker Atabay, who looks after special projects in the governorship, summarized our feelings. I’ll sign to that:

“11/03/2019. This date is a day in which the efforts of those who put their hands under the rock, those who think, and those who give labor begin to come to life and body. This history is a lesson to the inexperienced who try to write so-called success stories without producing anything from reason, idea and substance. May this be of good and auspicious benefit for my hometown Bor. Thanks to Serhan Süzer, who opened the door to qualified employment and high technology. Remember today. As we will not forget yesterday... ”

I personally thank him and the Governor, Mr Yılmaz Şimşek. They show how real statesmanship is like. They do their best for the interests of their country without waiting for any return.

After this, our job is much more difficult. We have all the vultures flying around us. Our struggle with those who want to do great things is much less than dealing with those who you’d want to drown in spoonful of water. But as always, the good ones will win. Of course, by being smarter, more resourceful and visionary than all evil. 

I would like to take this opportunity to share the video of our ceremony:

 

 

A photo taken with our EkoRE team after the ceremony


Note: The ceremony which took place was mentioned in many media channels being the national and local, written and visual media. We even took part in the PV Magazine, the most popular sectoral medium of solar power worldwide: https://www.pv-magazine.com/2019/03/11/ekore-breaks-ground-on-1-gw-vertically-integrated MODULES-factory-in-turkey /

 

We took part in all forms of media in Turkey. You can find the following news within their respective categories below:

Energy Media

https://www.enerjiportali.com/entregre-gunes-paneli-uretimi-tesisinin-acilisi-gerceklestirildi/

http://www.enerjimagazin.com/haber-6713-Turkiyenin-Ilk-Entegre-Gunes-Paneli-Tesisinin-Temeli-Atildi.html

https://yesilekonomi.com/ekore-nigde-fabrikasinin-temelini-atti/


National Press

http://www.milliyet.com.tr/2019-u-da-rekorlar-yili-olarak-ekonomi-2840722/

https://www.haberler.com/bakan-donmez-2019-u-da-rekorlar-yili-olarak-11825047-haberi/

https://www.star.com.tr/yerel-haberler/2019u-da-rekorlar-yili-olarak-gecirecegiz-3741839/

https://www.tgrthaber.com.tr/ekonomi/ozel-tesvik-alan-gunes-enerji-paneli-uretimi-yapacak-tesisin-temeli-atildi-2633564

National Publication


Internet media: 

https://www.sondakika.com/haber/haber-ozel-tesvik-alan-gunes-enerji-paneli-uretimi-11825082/

https://www.ensonhaber.com/gunes-enerji-paneli-uretimi-tesisi-insasina-baslandi.html

http://www.yenihaberden.com/ozel-tesvik-alan-gunes-enerji-paneli-uretimi-yapacak-tesisin-temeli-atildi-894657h.htm

https://www.bolgegundem.com/ozel-tesvik-alan-gunes-enerji-paneli-uretimi-yapacak-tesisin-temeli-atildi-768817h.htm

https://headtopics.com/tr/bakan-donmez-2019-u-da-rekorlar-yili-olarak-gecirecegiz-4684691

https://www.haberler.com/bakan-donmez-81-ilin-81-ine-de-dogal-gaz-goturduk-11825355-haberi/
 

Local Media
 

https://antalyakorfez.com/haber/27058-100-yerli-gunes-enerjisi-santralinin-temeli-atildi

http://www.borhaber.net/bor-nigde/bor-osbye-gunes-panel-ve-hucre-fabrikasi-temeli-atildi-h27861.html

 

International Energy Media

https://kknews.cc/zh-cn/world/qgm5v3o.html

http://www.ne21.com/news/show-112350.html

http://www.rinnovabili.it/energia/fotovoltaico/turchia-fabbrica-fv-integrata/

https://www.pv-magazine.com/2019/03/11/ekore-breaks-ground-on-1-gw-vertically-integrated-module-factory-in-turkey/

https://www.pv-tech.org/news/ekore-building-worlds-first-ever-vertically-integrated-heterojunction-modul

https://worldofrenewables.com/?do=viewarticle&artid=756&title=shell-oil-pushes-energy-efficiency

http://www.nacleanenergy.com/articles/33945/ekore-breaks-ground-on-1-gw-vertically-integrated-module-factory-in-turkey

http://environmentafricamag.com/press-release-ekore-breaks-ground-on-1-gw-vertically-integrated-module-factory-in-turkey/

 

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