US government commits $250 million to domestic heat pump production


From pv magazine USA

As part of the Biden administration's Investing in America program, the US Department of Energy (DoE) has announced a federal funding opportunity of $250 million to incentivize domestic heat pump manufacturing in the United States. This funding opportunity is the first to be announced since President Joe Biden invoked the Defense Production Act (DPA) in the summer of 2022, authorizing the DoE to increase domestic production of five key clean energy technologies, including electric heat pumps.

The IRA governs the new funding, which will be used to build a clean energy economy, create new manufacturing jobs, and help families save money on their energy bills. Increased use of heat pumps for heating and cooling will lower energy costs for more American families and businesses while creating healthier indoor spaces with American-made clean energy technologies.

“Electric heat pumps offer a cheaper, more reliable option for heating and cooling that isn't prone to dramatic price swings and helps to strengthen the nation's energy independence,” said US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm.

More than 40% of all US energy is consumed in the heating and cooling of buildings, homes, offices, government, and municipal facilities. Heat pumps transfer heat rather than generate heat, making them applicable across all climates without reliance on home heating oil, gas, or other fuel sources. One downside to heat pumps has been their poor performance in cold climates. To advance the technology, the DoE launched the Cold Climate Heat Pump Challenge. Rheem recently announced an air-source heat pump that passed the Heat Pump Challenge, providing uninterrupted heating under -22.9 F ambient conditions.

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The DoE is accepting applications from manufacturers interested in creating new US facilities or expanding existing production capacity to develop more electric heat pump systems, components, and materials. The department seeks projects that will:

  • Construct new commercial-scale facilities or expand existing facilities to create new or additional domestic production capability
  • Retool or retrofit existing commercial-scale facilities to transition manufacturing from non-heat pump HVAC systems and/or water heating equipment to produce electric heat pump materials, heat pump components, and heat pump systems
  • Invest in the clean energy manufacturing workforce by providing good-paying, union jobs

Concept papers, required by all applicants, are due by May 19, 2023, 5 p.m. (ET). Full applications are due by Aug. 1, 2023, 5 p.m. (ET).

The DOE's Office of Manufacturing and Energy Supply Chains (MESC) manages the DPA heat pump activities. To learn more about the MESC's mission to strengthen and secure domestic manufacturing and energy supply chains to modernize energy infrastructure and support a clean and equitable energy transition, click here.

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