California consumers and state policies to increase renewable energy supplies and energy efficiency have and continue to draw manufacturers of solar panels, fuels cells, and other clean technologies to California, according to speakers at an Assembly Select Committee on California\u2019s Clean Energy Economy. The Nov. 16 hearing sought specific information on what attracts and repels clean tech manufacturers to the state. \u201cYou can\u2019t adjust regulations or the permit process until you dig down and understand the factors that companies consider when deciding to put or not put manufacturing in California,\u201d said Assemblymember Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), committee chair. She called for more research into the issue. Factors include taxes, labor costs, the regulatory environment, and what other states and nations are offering as manufacturing incentives. \u201cThere is a market here,\u201d said Alissa Patterson, Primus Power, director of marketing, Nov. 16 Patterson added her energy storage company located in the state because of the California Energy Commission\u2019s financial support through its public goods program, as well as legislation promoting energy storage. Financial incentives, like Energy Commission grants and low-interest loans, help defray the risk of new technologies, lower costs, and ease the way for commercialization. California is a draw because it is a leader in clean tech, Mickey Oros, vice president of fuel cell company Altergy Systems, noted. \u201cWe are out-of-the-box thinkers.\u201d Alternative energy firm representatives urged lawmakers to continue the state\u2019s public goods funded program, which the Legislature voted against reauthorizing in September. The program, paid for by a monthly surcharge in utility bills, supports renewable technology and energy efficiency research and development. Clean energy companies also called for policies encouraging consumers to buy California-made alternative energy products. In addition, they asked for tax breaks and additional incentives, including low interest loans, to reduce the risk for young companies. \u201cEntice us to stay in the state,\u201d Oros said. The hearing focused on the manufacturing sector because of its potential to create jobs directly and indirectly. Oros said the rising labor costs in China could lead to a rise in clean tech manufacturing jobs in California in a couple of years. Lawmakers this week and previously complained about allocating money to state agencies, such as the Energy Commission, and then having little say over agency disbursements. \u201cThe future may lie out in special legislative carve outs,\u201d said Assemblymember Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles). The state has seen employment in the manufacturing sector drop 30 percent, which is not as steep a drop as experienced in other states, Skinner said. At the same time, green manufacturing employment between 1995 and 2009 grew 52 percent, according to Noel Perry, Next 10 founder. The largest regional green tech employment growth occurred in the Bay Area, Sacramento, and Orange County between 1995 and 2009--109 percent, 103 percent, and 67 percent respectively. California also has attracted more venture capital for clean technology than any other state. Last year, $11.9 billion in venture capital for alternative energy was invested in California compared to $23.8 billion in the U.S. The first half of 2001, $7 billion of venture capital came into the state, according to Next 10.