The European Commission has authorised €12.9 million state aid for Masdar for an investment worth around €120 million for a second solar module production line next to Masdar's existing plant in Ichtershausen, Thuringia, an area eligible for regional aid, because the aid intensity, the beneficiaries' market shares and the capacity created by the assisted projects are sufficiently low to ensure that the benefits of the aid for regional development will outweigh any potential distortions of competition brought about by the aid.
In 2008, the Commission had already authorised aid to Masdar for its first production line. As the two projects are located in the same area, economically indivisible and undertaken within three years, they constitute a single project for the assessment under EU state aid rules.
The measure meets the criteria for large regional investment projects: the aid intensity (10.2%) is below the maximum. Masdar's market share on the worldwide solar modules market is below 1% before and after the investment, which is far below the guidelines' threshold of 25% and the capacity created by the investment does not exceed 5%.
Regional aid is offered to EU member states to support investment projects in disadvantaged regions with a GDP per capita below the EU average. For aid to investment projects with eligible costs exceeding €50 million, the Commission has to assess the market shares of the beneficiaries and the capacity increase created by the project, because aid for such large investments entails a higher risk of distorting competition. In case market shares and capacity increase exceed the thresholds set in the guidelines, the Commission has to carry out an in-depth assessment.