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Clean Tech Manufacturing May Get $30B Shot in the Arm

solar-panels22A new Senate bill would provide up to $30 billion for factories to retool their operations to meet demand for clean tech products, including components for hybrid and electric vehicles.

The Investments for Manufacturing Progress and Clean Technology (IMPACT) Act of 2009 is co-sponsored by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.).

Under the program, states would set up revolving loans to allow companies to retool factories or otherwise green their operations. It is intended for small- to medium-sized companies of fewer than 500 employees, reports the Mansfield News Journal. The revolving loan program would last for two years.

The bill was formed with the ailing automotive supply industry in mind. Brown said that companies that have produced windshields, for instance, could retool operations to produce solar panels. Likewise, factories that made steel components for cars could instaed make fuel cells.

Additionally, manufacturers having a hard time coping with rising energy prices could get loans to install more efficient equipment or on-site renewable energy.

The bill also would expand and focus Manufacturing Extension Partnerships (MEPs) on clean energy manufacturing, reports Reliableplant.com.

The bill is strongly supported by the Apollo Alliance, a coalition of labor, business, environmental, and community leaders working toward establishing clean energy and green-collar jobs.

“Without a program to support our own domestic manufacturers, policies that create new demand for clean energy will just lead to more imports,” said Phil Angelides, chairman of the Apollo Alliance.

Apollo Alliance predicts successful passage of the bill could create 680,000 direct manufacturing jobs.

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