Oct 24, 2017

Turkey is Huge on Solar


Before the US and Turkey mutually cut off tourist visas, I got to spend 4 weeks in Turkey touring around with some amazing people. For 10 of those days, we were in the village of Ortahisar, home to an amazing rock castle. As you can see in the below video, I did a bunch of hiking in the nearby valley. It was a lovely time.

What I did not expect was to see SO MUCH SOLAR! I'm not talking about photovoltaics or PV, the panels that turn the sun's energy directly into electricity. These were solar hot water panels. They're generally larger than PV panels and don't have the metal conductor strips running through creating that classic grid look. In the image below, the solar hot water panel is on the left.

Source: Solarize Your World
In Ortahisar, we were perched up on a hill overlooking neighboring rooftops. A vast majority of them had these panels. In fact, every town I went to during my 4 week stay in Turkey had these panels sprinkled all across the skyline. In the video above, you'll see some amazing shots from a cable car in Alanya to give you an idea of how ubiquitous solar hot water is.

So I did some research and found that Turkey is a big leader the solar thermal market According to REN21, it is second only to China. Compared to the US, they have double the installed capacity (1.45 GW-thermal VS 0.6 GW). Go Turkey!

My hosts told me about how people put this solar energy to use. Most of their neighbors heat their water in the summer. When there is less sun in the winter, they go back to relying on more traditional--and expensive--methods like gas or electricity.

I reached out to a number of other innovative companies including Baymak, Solimpeks, and Ezinc. I wasn't able to arrange a visit but I can save that for next time, after this US-Turkey tourist visa fiasco is over.