Pennsylvania’s efforts to attract to attract solar energy manufacturers to the state, spur an increase in projects that harness the sun’s power, and create green collar jobs took a major step forward today, according to Rendell.

The program is one component of the $650 million Alternative Energy Investment Fund that Governor Rendell signed into law in July 2008. The fund is expected to create at least 10,000 new jobs and attract more than $3.5 billion in private investment to Pennsylvania.

Other Alternative Energy Investment Fund programs are in development. Of the $650 million fund, $500 million will be bond financing provided through CFA.

Projects eligible under the guidelines approved today include those that generate, distribute or store solar energy, or facilities that manufacture or assemble solar panels or other solar equipment. Developing or building facilities for research and development purposes also are eligible.

Under the guidelines, applicants must provide evidence of at least $1 in matching funds for every $1 of program funds awarded by the CFA.

Solar energy generation or distribution projects and solar research and development facilities are eligible for loans of up to $5 million or grants of up to $1 million. Companies that manufacture solar components for renewable-energy generation equipment may receive loans of up to $35,000 for every new job they project to create within three years after being approved; they may receive grants of up to $5,000 for each new job created. The CFA is also making available guarantees of up to $5 million.

The program is administered jointly by the departments of Community and Economic Development and Environmental Protection under the direction of the CFA.

“Having this plan in place is a major step forward in creating jobs, expanding Pennsylvania’s manufacturing base and producing environmentally friendly, home-grown energy,” said Rendell. “There are tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars in solar energy projects now looking for a home. Other states and nations are competing for those projects and the good jobs they’ll create.

“Now, we’re in a better position to attract many of those projects to Pennsylvania, creating more jobs here and retaining our place as a world-class leader in clean, renewable energy development.”