The U.S. Department of Treasury on Thursday launched a program to provide a 30 percent manufacturing tax credit for producing renewable energy, energy storage and other clean energy equipment.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act created the program to give manufacturers a financial boost and create jobs. The government is capping the two-year program's spending at $2.3 billion.

The tax credit would go to those who invest in building new or expanding existing factories. Projects that replace older factory equipment also would qualify.

Competition for the incentives could be fierce. The program is available to a wide range of manufacturers, including those in solar, wind, geothermal, fuel cells, batteries, smart grid, plug-in hybrid cars and components, renewable fuel refining, energy efficient lighting, and carbon capture and sequestration.

The Treasury department will accept preliminary applications from Aug. 14 through Sept. 16 this year (see program details).

Then it will work with the U.S. Department of Energy to review and rank applicants based on, among other things, the number of jobs to be created, pollution reduction, innovation and time it would take to complete the factory project.

The Treasury department promises to decide on a list of recipients by Jan. 15 next year.

The recipients would then receive an acceptance agreement from the Internal Revenue Service by April 16 next year. The manufacturers will have four years from that time to compete their factory plans.

The program is one of many authorized by the Recovery Act to support the clean energy sector.

Last month, the Treasury department announced the launch of a program to give the cash equivalent of a 30 percent investment tax credit for developers of renewable energy generation projects (see Feds Now Accepting Applications for Solar, Wind).

The Energy department, meanwhile, is accepting loan guarantee applications from developers of renewable energy generation and electric grid transmission projects (see DOE Looks for Submissions for $30B Renewable Energy Loan Guarantees).

The Energy department also is running a $3.4 billion grant program for smart grid projects, and a slew of utilities have applied.

Last week, the Energy department awarded $2.4 billion to 48 projects for manufacturing car batteries and electric drive components, as well as for demonstrating electric car charging technologies.

Image via Johnny Vulkan / Creative Commons

Interact with smart grid industry visionaries from North American utilities, innovative hardware and software vendors and leading industry consortiums at The Networked Grid on November 4 in San Francisco.