Happy St. Patrick's Day! On a day when many of you are already thinking green, I wanted to bring to your attention another important green idea. At the same time, I wanted to let you know that we are still working hard on the budget and I will continue to provide you updates on that very important subject.
Cleantech is new technology and related businesses that include solar, wind, energy efficiency and electric vehicle technology companies. California has become the dominant state for cleantech development in the United States with the highest proportion of cleantech jobs of any U.S. state. The San Francisco Bay Area is rated as the top metropolitan area in the U.S. for cleantech jobs.
As a state Senator I have worked hard to support the creation of jobs and a recovering economy including the cleantech sector in my district and the state. I voted for Senate Bill 71, which provides solar, wind and other clean energy technology firms an exemption from the state's 8.25 percent sales tax for the purchase of manufacturing equipment. I then worked with State Treasurer Bill Lockyer to ensure companies in my district received this benefit. These companies include thin film solar panel manufacturer Solyndra in Fremont, Tesla's new electric car manufacturing facility in Fremont, and Simbol Mining in Pleasanton. I also contacted the U.S. Department of Energy asking them to provide a federal loan to Nanosolar in San Jose, which also manufacturers solar panels in my district. These companies will create thousands of much-needed jobs in my district.
At the same time I have been working to create more cleantech jobs by requiring more recycling. Last year, my bill would have required that battery manufactures invest in California to ensure their products are recycled. Several firms have indicated they would open facilities to create jobs collecting and recycling batteries if the bill became law. I have reintroduced the bill this year, Senate Bill 515, to help our economy and our environment.
I am also working on more proposals to help the cleantech sector of the economy thrive. The state has installed photovoltaic solar systems on state property including land controlled by the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, the Department of Mental Health and several California State Universities. California has several companies that manufacture solar panels in the state, employing Californians and helping our economy. I have introduced Senate Bill 175, which requires the state to do what it can to purchase and use solar panels manufactured in California whenever they are installed on state property.
I am also committed to developing California's infrastructure for electric plug-in vehicles and ensuring that the state is ready for Californians who make the smart choice in cleaner cars. Consequently, my Senate Bill 209 will ensure electric car owners can install charging stations at their homes, even if they live in community interest developments. This will ensure that those living in community interest developments are able to have the necessary infrastructure to charge their vehicles. I will be working in the future on other ways to help California manufacture and use electric cars.
Cleantech is one of the fastest growing and most successful parts of our economy. I will continue to do everything I can to create the jobs of the future to achieve the goal of strengthening our economy and protecting our environment.
Ellen M. Corbett
Senate Majority Leader