Manufacturing Savvy

Let's Not Import Foreign-Made Solar Panels Says Dow Corning's CEO

Dr. Stephanie A. Burns, CEO of Down Corning Corp. is convinced that green manufacturing jobs can help the U.S. economy recover.

"I believe that with the right mix of private investment, government support, and entrepreneurial spirit, we can revitalize the heart of our nation's economy -- our manufacturing sector," Burns said last month at the 2010 International District Export Council Conference.

And there is no time to waste.

"We need to make this commitment now, or the net long-term effect will be the export of jobs today and the import of foreign-made solar panels tomorrow."

Why is the U.S. putting up barriers to companies that want to manufacture in the U.S. she wonders. Other nations have "adopted aggressive policies to support the growth of their renewable-energy manufacturing base" she explains.

The U.S. need to put incentives into place.

She specifically addressed the issue of solar power growth. "There is an immediate need for strategic, short-term, demand-side incentives that will pave the way for solar power growth, jobs and an export market in the United States."

And she's not afraid to let the government know what they should be doing.

The U.S. must:

*Establish legislative and regulatory policies to encourage rapid growth of a viable renewable energy industry and encourage consumer adoption

*Increase investments in research and development to support innovation in solar energy technologies

*Invest in renewable energy-related education, training and job creation

*Lead by example in the implementation of clean technologies

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