While US policymakers at all levels of government talk about the importance of ending our nation’s dependence on foreign oil, at least one group of lawmakers can boast to having actually put their money where their mouths are.

This summer, Pennsylvania lawmakers adopted and Gov. Edward G. Rendell signed into law a new fund that will provide loans, grants, reimbursements and rebates to support a variety of renewable energy and energy-efficiency projects for home and small business owners.

As part of the $650 million package, residential consumers and small businesses will be eligible for $92.5 million in various forms of financing to support energy conservation and weatherization projects that can ultimately reduce energy bills. Another $40 million is available to provide financial assistance through the state’s Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and establish an energy-efficiency loan fund through the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency.

Seeing the potential for growth in solar power, lawmakers included $100 million in the package to support the installation of solar energy technology for homes and businesses.

“Families are having to make the difficult decision of whether or not to stay in their homes because they can barely afford to fill up their gas tank or go to the grocery store where higher energy prices have pushed up the price of food,” Rendell said. “Likewise, businesses are questioning whether or not to shut their doors because it costs so much to keep the lights on and the machines running.”

Also included in the package are $25 million for wind energy and geothermal projects, $25 million for green buildings and $25 million for pollution control technology to help energy generators meet state and federal standards.