DURHAM – When FlexGen Power Systems sought to raise capital last year, the Durham-headquartered integrated software and services firm that provides storage solution to private and public power utilities and providers did so following landing a significant client at a time when the company sought to get “bankability.”

That’s according to Kelcy Pegler, the company’s chief executive officer, who spoke with WRAL TechWire last week. The company went on to raise $150 million, which closed in August of 2021.

But now, the firm has raised an additional $100 million in capital, as reported last week by WRAL TechWire, and the company is poised to continue on its growth trajectory, Pegler said.

“Our pipeline, our contract backlog, and our revenue all on a tremendous growth curve,” said Pegler.  “Highlighted by demand for resiliency, energy independence, and flexibility of the grid.”

And the company anticipates further growth.  The firm will open a planned innovation lab in Durham in the coming months that will develop and showcase new products and technologies in the battery storage sector.

“Demand of battery storage market has outpaced any of the prognosticators expectations,” Pegler noted.  “Surplus of supply, of relatively inexpensive power in the morning, and a real demand in the afternoon, when in many markets, electricity becomes far more expensive.”

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What’s happening

Think about your day, and how you interact with your environment.  Here in the Triangle and throughout North Carolina, the hottest part of the day comes late, and with many households searching for relief from the summer heat in recent days and weeks, air conditioners are kicked into high gear, whether at home, an office, or a community space.

Of course, sadly, many don’t have access to air conditioning, and the results of heat waves can leave thousands, or millions, with major medical conditions or result in deaths.

Power demand is highest in the afternoons, not just due to the heat, but also due to how many households operate, with peak energy usage in homes and commerce centers occurring throughout the afternoon and evening.

But in the morning, there’s actually often a surplus of power supply, said Pegler, while in the afternoons there’s intense demand “in many markets, electricity becomes far more expensive.”

“Battery storage just happens to be a perfect solution to that challenge,” said Pegler.  “You’re able to charge your batteries in the morning with inexpensive power and discharge in the afternoon when its very valuable.”

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Powering up

FlexGen’s technology, called HybridOS, provides control over battery storage systems.  And it’s at the center of many of the company’s projects in the space.

“Fair to say that we’re in pretty incredible geopolitical times,” said Pegler.  “Most of macroeconomic trends end up being supportive for battery storage.”

Whether at an individual level or national and international levels, everyone is thinking about energy independence right now, said Pegler.

And that includes North Carolina, which added more than 10,000 clean energy jobs in 2021.  In total, clean energy sources accounted for 38% of power supply, a March report from Ember found.

“Everyone is thinking about energy independence, energy storage, and an overall intelligence in battery supply,” he noted.  And battery storage is unique because it sits between fossil fuels and renewable energy sources, said Pegler.

“We are making real progress with some commercial and industrial products, EV charging complemented with battery storage, data center complemented with battery storage, so some new use cases coming on line,” said Pegler.  “And really leaning into our technology platform, HybridOS.”

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What’s next

Now powered up with an additional $100 million in funding, including participation from all of the firm’s prior investors, the company is prepared to be a leader in the coming transition of the energy grid.

Pegler told WRAL TechWire that the story of the company’s fundraise isn’t about the company or the raised capital.

“This is a grid transition story,” he noted.  “Look at the vehicles on the street, you can’t get past a week without hearing more about the electric vehicles and the electrification of our grid.”

That’s happening globally, and it’s also happening locally.  Both Toyota and VinFast are in the process of completing manufacturing facilities in North Carolina, with Toyota building its first North American electric battery manufacturing plant and VinFast building an automotive assembly plant that could produce hundreds of thousands of electric vehicles in its first few years of operation.

And while the company does plan to bring new and innovative products into the market, assisting in the transformation of the global energy economy, Pegler also told WRAL TechWire that it doesn’t plan to disrupt the sector.

Instead, battery storage and grid transformation is a story of optimization, said Pegler.

“This is not a story about wind or solar that’s here to disrupt,” he said.  “We are going to be seeing more solar and more wind as time goes on and they’re proving to be economically sound and reliable, with the caveat that they are intermittent, and when you pair those characteristics with battery storage, everything gets more predictable and meaningfully more intelligent.”

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