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    US subsidies worth billions attract Meyer Burger

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    Solar cell factory in Colorado
    US subsidies worth billions attract Meyer Burger

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    There is only one solar cell manufacturer in Europe: Meyer Burger. But that could soon change – because the US government’s offer is now unbeatable. The Swiss company is increasingly drawn to the United States.

    The Swiss solar module manufacturer Meyer Burger wants to build another factory for high-performance solar cells in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The plant, with an initial capacity of two gigawatts per year, will supply the North American market, the company said. Production is scheduled to begin in the fourth quarter of 2024.

    Meyer Burger is relying on billions in subsidies in the USA: The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) results in a cumulative eligible amount of up to 1.4 billion dollars, which can be monetized from the start of production in 2024 until the end of 2032. Additionally, the city of Colorado Springs and the state of Colorado provided a $90 million financial package. Advance payments from module buyers and loans from the Department of Energy amounting to more than $300 million are also foreseeable.

    As the “Handelsblatt” reports, machines that were actually intended for the cell factory that is also under construction in Germany are to be redirected for the new factory in the USA. “We will continue in Thalheim if the general conditions in Europe are right,” announced Meyer Burger boss Günter Erfurt, according to the newspaper.

    In the USA they are “rolling out the red carpet”

    The only solar cell manufacturer in Europe threatened to relocate production to the USA a few weeks ago. He sharply criticized the conditions for industry in the EU in a fire letter to Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner. “In the USA, the red carpet is being rolled out for us to relocate plants and sell solar modules,” Erfurt wrote in the letter, according to ZDF.

    Meyer Burger, based in Switzerland, produces solar cells in Bitterfeld-Wolfen (Saxony-Anhalt), which are later used to build modules. According to information, capacity is expected to grow to 3.4 gigawatts by the end of 2024 – three times as much as today. It is said that this could grow to around 15 gigawatts by 2027. However, the company had already linked this further major investment to financial support. In addition to Saxony-Anhalt, it operates other production facilities in Freiberg and Hohenstein-Ernstthal (Saxony). In addition, further module production is to be set up in Goodyear in the USA.

    The US government’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) subsidy program provides billions in support for companies that locate the production of future technologies such as car batteries, wind turbines or solar cells in the USA. The EU and its member states are therefore accusing Washington of protectionism and fearing that companies will relocate.

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