, December 16, 2009 (ENS) - At a Middle Class Task Force meeting today which focused on manufacturing, Vice President Joe Biden announced the administration's support for up to $5 billion in additional funding for a successful Recovery Act program that will accelerate job growth in Clean Energy Manufacturing.
This increase would more than triple the funding of the Recovery Act's Section 48C Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit.
The program covers a number of clean energy technologies, providing a 30 percent tax credit for investments in factories that manufacture products used in clean energy technology.
"American manufacturing plays a vital role in our society and economy. It was instrumental in building our middle class and we must work with the industry to retool to remain competitive for the economy of the future," said Vice President Biden.
"We have to jumpstart growth in green manufacturing – and part of that is encouraging companies to build the components of green technology right here on American soil," Biden said. "By combining the most talented workforce, the most entrepreneurial businesses, the best universities in the world with seed capital from government investment, we can once again produce cutting-edge technology that creates 21st century jobs here in America."
This announcement builds on the job creation ideas that President Barack Obama advanced in a speech on job creation last week and utilizes Recovery Act clean energy programs that can be leveraged to help accelerate job growth.
Worker places a solar silicon wafer in a highly efficient optical furnace for fabricating solar cells (Photo by Ray David courtesy NREL)
The Recovery Act included $2.3 billion in tax credits that will support an additional $5.4 billion in private capital investment. Yet the program generated far more interest than anticipated, Biden explained.
The Energy and Treasury departments received far more technically acceptable applications than the program has resources to fund. Instead of turning down worthy applicants who are willing to invest private resources to build and equip factories that manufacture clean energy products in America, the administration supports expanding the program, he said.
An additional $5 billion would support at least $15 billion in total capital investment, creating tens of thousands of new construction and manufacturing jobs.
"Because there is already an existing pipeline of worthy projects and substantial interest in this area, these funds will be deployed quickly to create jobs and support economic activity," Biden said. "In doing so, the administration will employ new approaches to ensure that we maximize private investment for every dollar we invest."
Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association, likes the increased tax credit.
"The administration is taking action to meet our most pressing economic need - job creation – by expanding the manufacturing tax credit for renewable energy equipment like solar," he said.
"This incentive improves our nation's competitiveness with other solar industry market leaders like China and creates high-quality jobs with good benefits," Resch said. "We're bringing back a sense of pride in the American worker that a job can do something positive for the country and for our planet."
"The solar industry is creating manufacturing jobs from coast-to-coast and in the states where they are most needed. In Ohio, where communities are feeling the sting of the decline in traditional manufacturing, the solar industry is stepping in to fill that void," said Resch.
"Over the past 10 years, 6,000 people have become employed in the solar industry in the city of Toledo alone, double what the coal industry employs in the entire state," he said. "By stimulating more domestic manufacturing, we can expand on this momentum."
Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2009. All rights reserved.
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