Durham, NC April 18, 2022—
What is your name and your title?
Allan Gregg, Flexgen C&I Systems Engineering Supervisor
Please provide information about your background and qualifications – education, previous industry experience, etc.
When I completed my MSEE, I was already working in the electronics industry designing telecommunication equipment. A few years later, while using solar panels (a novelty at that time) to charge batteries for mountaintop VHF radio repeater sites in Southeast Alaska, I became intrigued with the whole “make electricity from sunlight” concept and through a series of “accidental” career changing events, I found myself in the aerospace industry in charge of the electrical power system for the International Space Station (a flying microgrid). That experience gave me an in-depth understanding of the design of power conditioning equipment as well as distributed generation and controls. From there I moved into terrestrial applications for photovoltaics in the design and manufacturing of both solar panels and PV inverters. The missing component in large scale PV systems was energy storage so in 2012, I moved into the energy storage industry working for a small start-up with an innovative battery control system. Even though that company failed to get the necessary investors on board, the rapid changes in battery technology along with the precipitous drop in battery prices led me to stay close to the energy storage industry. Practical, reliable, cost-effective, system solutions have always been my goal. Over the years, I have held most of the positions related to the renewable energy and electrical power systems industry including product development, product management, system design, systems installation, project management, and applications engineering. The opportunities that were presented to me during this time turned into a series of adventures. I have been directly involved in one or more of these capacities for solar power system projects in 18 countries on four continents.
What made you want to work at FlexGen?
I was aware of Flexgen but I didn’t know about the expansion plans that had been started. A friend of mine, Matthew Charles reached out to me after he interviewed with Flexgen and recommended that I get in touch. Flexgen appeared to be the energy storage company that had the right plan and the right track record to be what the industry needed. I felt that I could make a positive contribution to Flexgen’s success, especially in the C&I market. All the people I spoke with were clearly the kind of talented and dedicated people needed to make the company successful and the kind of people I wanted to work with. My initial estimations were confirmed when I was able to meet everyone face to face.
What goals do you have for your time with the FlexGen team?
Helping make the C&I part of Flexgen’s business financially and operationally successful is my main goal. The C&I market is a challenging one full of demanding customers who don’t have a good understanding of battery energy storage systems or combining energy storage with solar power systems. Quite a bit of the “front-end” work with customers and the market in general, is education. Initially, the main efforts will be to get the technical and marketing documentation in order. To augment that, there is a need for white papers on applications to be followed by success stories. In the C&I world, credibility is king so high performance at all levels is essential. My overall goal is to help make Flexgen’s C&I products the industry standard so that our competitors have to claim that they are “as good as Flexgen”.
What led you to this specific career in this industry?
I have always been good at figuring out the “how-to” parts of challenging projects so it was only natural that I would follow a career path in an industry where there was a need for new processes, new products, new system solutions, and new procedures. This career allows me to use electrical as well as mechanical engineering to solve problems and develop new solutions in the renewable energy markets. That is why I do what I do and love doing it. I usually tell people that I found something I like doing that “helps save the planet”.
What is the biggest misconception people have about your position?
I’m not sure if there is a misconception about the position, but it is usually a challenge to describe the industry in a way that people can relate to. The renewable energy industry in general has been described in terms that are misleading at best, and in a lot of cases, just plain wrong, so it is a tough challenge to rectify the misconceptions. I wish that something so valuable and important had not become so political.
About FlexGen Power Systems, Inc.
Based in Durham, N.C., FlexGen is a leading integration services and software technology provider for energy storage solutions in the United States and globally. FlexGen designs and integrates storage solutions and the software platform that is enabling today’s energy transition. Leveraging its best-in-class energy management software and power electronics, FlexGen delivers utility-scale storage projects integrated with traditional and renewable power generation globally. Our clients and partners include the most technically and commercially demanding developers, utilities, government agencies and industrial companies in the world. To learn more, please visit www.flexgen.com.