The European Commission recently approved a US$126.8 million (€97.5 million) regional investment aid, which German authorities will be endowing to Wacker Chemie to produce solar grade polysilicon in Nünchritz, eastern Germany. The EU Commission concluded that the act was in line with the requirements for the Regional Aid Guidelines 2007-2013. The US$126.8 million grant will go towards the expansion of Wacker’s facility in Nünchritz, which will add a solar grade polysilicon plant next to its silicon/silane plant.
The Nünchritz area has been hard hit with an atypically low standard of living and high unemployment. Due to this, the region is eligible for regional aid under Article 107(3)(a) of the EU Treaty. Germany will grant the aid based off the existing aid methods, but as US$126.8 million is over the notification ceiling, the EU Commission had to be notified for an individual assessment and clearance.
The investment aid is in accordance with the regional aid rules, including the provision that the maximum allowable aid intensity for an investment of this size will not be exceeded and that Wacker’s market share on the world market stays below 25% after the investment.