Bay Area benefits from Obama's green jobs plan

January 29, 2010 12:36:09 PM PST
When the White House awarded more than $2.3 billion in clean-tech manufacturing tax credits Friday, six Bay Area enterprises came out as big winners.

"This is an example of the federal government supporting green energy," San Jose-based Nanosolar founder Brian Sager said. "It enables manufacturing in the United States, allowing us to be globally competitive, and to grow jobs here rather than abroad."

Nanosolar will use more than $43 million in tax credits to produce tools for the manufacturing of low emission solar cells. The company already employs 350 people.

"We expect to hire many more in the next couple of years," said Sager.

Some of those new workers could come from the NUMMI automobile plant, which Toyota has decided to close in Fremont.

"We have some of the smartest, most efficient workers anywhere," autoworker Greg Savage said outside the San Jose Automobile Show Friday. "I think we have to move in the direction technology is going. You have to keep up."

Savage and NUMMI's other soon-to-be laid off workers might also find jobs at Calisolar in Sunnyvale, which received a tax credit worth $51 million. The company intends to build a new factory.

"It's a huge boost to us," Calisolar CEO Roy Johnson said.

At Miasole in Sunnyvale, Vice President of Corporate Development Stephen Barry shares that sentiment. His company received the most, locally -- $101 million in tax credits for thin-film solar cells.

"It's more than a door opening as another closes," he said. "It's a garage door. We expect this to be a growth industry for the next 50 years."

The company expects to ship 150 megawatts of electrical panels per year. Combined, they could generate enough electricity to power several small cities.