During a joint hearing by the Senate energy and governance & tax panels Oct. 19, witnesses praised the state\u2019s tax exemption program for alternative energy manufacturing equipment. \u201cIt\u2019s a bigger risk not having the tax exemption\u201d said Bill Lockyer, State Treasurer. Sen. Bob Huff (R-Walnut) agreed, noting that private investors have a lot more funds at risk than the state. That is especially true because the renewable tax exemption is granted only after money is invested in renewable equipment. The Senate Energy, Utilities, & Communications and Governance and Tax Committees held the hearing to review the treasurer\u2019s proposal to temporarily halt the tax exemption program in light of Solyndra\u2019s bankruptcy. The collapse of the Fremont-based solar panel manufacturer has been scrutinized in and outside California, partly because the company was backed by a $535 million Department of Energy loan guarantee. \u201cFor every Solyndra, there are ten success stories,\u201d noted Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima). The chair of the Senate energy panel added, however, \u201cIt\u2019s a good time to look at how the year-old tax exemption program is doing.\u201d The sales tax exemption for renewable manufacturing equipment was created by Padilla\u2019s SB 71 to attract renewable firms to California. The legislation authorized the California Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority in the Treasurer\u2019s Office to grant the exemptions. Lockyer told lawmakers that the sales tax exemption at issue is \u201ca model for the way tax expenditure laws should be written.\u201d He and others highlighted its transparency, which distinguishes this program from the state\u2019s other 86 tax break programs, which together create $43 billion in lost taxes, according to Lockyer. The treasurer and Legislative Analyst\u2019s Office cautioned against reforming the renewable sales tax exemption program to include \u201cclaw backs,\u201d that is, repayment of the exemption if the estimated number of manufacturing jobs fall below expectations. The job creation numbers are \u201cguess work,\u201d Lockyer pointed out. Two renewable equipment manufacturers testified in support of the program. Thin film manufacturer Solaria relocated to California from overseas partly because of the sales exemption on renewable equipment. \u201cWe probably wouldn\u2019t have been able to locate in California without the renewables equipment tax exemption,\u201d said Melissa Sucker, Solaria vice president. \u201cCalifornia is absolutely where we want to be.\u201d There have been about $104 million in sale tax exemptions for renewable equipment. That is based on $1.6 billion in purchases of components of solar panels and wind blades and other equipment. Solyndra received $25 million in tax exemptions (Current, Oct. 7, 2011).