Hybrid water heaters previously made in China roll off the assembly line for the first time in GE's new plant in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo courtesy of GE)
A nearly $25 million Recovery Act tax credit helped General Electric transfer its manufacturing operations of hybrid water heaters from China to Kentucky’s Louisville Appliance Park, making it the first new plant opened there in more than 50 years. Kentucky state and local governments put up $17 million toward construction costs.
The majority of Recovery projects are funded by stimulus contracts, grants, and loans, while Recovery tax credits – about $300 billion total – are most often used to offset losses from the recession or to provide for energy efficiency. But in this case, GE used a sizeable tax credit to offset construction costs of the new facility, which GE says can make the product more competitively than in China.
GE’s hybrid water heater combines energy-saving heat-pump technology with traditional electric heating elements, requiring less than half the amount of energy needed to operate a conventional electric water heater. The hybrid “and other recent investments at Appliance Park has also created hundreds of highly skilled salaried jobs in fields like engineering, industrial design and manufacturing,” the company said.
DOE said the hybrid water heater was inspired by research efforts pioneered in the late 1990s and early 2000s at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
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