Tennessee: Bringing Jobs and Economic Development to Piney Flats

Project Overview
Positive Impact: By tooling up a manufacturing line in Tennessee, where jobs are created, Diversified Power International, LLC is able to manufacture its product in the United States instead of Taiwan.
Location: Piney Flatts, Tennessee
EERE Investment: $864,000
Clean Energy Sector: Energy-saving homes, buildings, and manufacturingPDF

With grants from the Tennessee Solar Institute (TSI) and Recovery Act funding from EERE’s State Energy Program (SEP), Diversified Power International, LLC (DPI) has successfully realized its vision of retaining its technology at home, while also verifiably providing an increase of more than 50% in full-time employment. Utilizing this funding, DPI made energy efficiency upgrades to its production facility, added new equipment and process lines, and provided high-level training to both existing and new employees. Most importantly, however, DPI was able to establish a production line for products previously made overseas—bringing high-technology and higher-skill-level jobs to the United States.

DPI received several grants, including SEP funding from the State of Tennessee, to tool-up its facility. The grants provided funding to DPI’s efforts to do the following:

  • Purchase equipment for a new assembly production line, which will allow DPI to manufacture a product in-house that was previously sourced from Taiwan
  • Commission marketing studies for its solar products
  • Pursue Underwriters Laboratories’ approval for its battery management system
  • Conduct several energy efficiency upgrades, including adding skylights in its production area, install timers on overhead lights, replace gas furnaces with heat pumps, insulate its entire facility, reduce the size of its bay door and add air curtains to reduce air flow into the facility
  • Establish a machine center at the DPI facility, which will allow DPI to manufacture frame components, such as base plates, poles and bracketing, which had been previously outsourced overseas
  • Train employees to use the equipment purchased
  • Provide DPI employees Computer-aided design, accounting, and safety training
  • Produce product installation training videos.

The Weatherization and Intergovernmental Programs Office (WIP) provides funding and technical assistance to its partners in state and local governments, Indian tribes, and international agencies to facilitate the adoption of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies.

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