Rob Rogan, president of clean energy at Generac, said the company’s green energy division has been expanding to meet growing demand for home energy storage systems across the U.S.

By Rob Sabo
Monday, October 2, 2023
Generac’s new engineering center on Double R Boulevard in South Meadows provides the company with a dedicated research facility to advance its clean energy storage business as well as grow its pool of engineering talent.
Rob Rogan, president of clean energy at Generac, said the company’s green energy division has been expanding to meet growing demand for home energy storage systems across the U.S.
California, however, is one of the biggest markets for Generac home energy storage systems, Rogan noted, and much of the engineering talent for the solar energy storage industry resides in the western half of the United States.
“Reno is the perfect location to invest in engineering talent, and it also gives us the room we need to expand,” Rogan told NNBW during an interview last week. “Generac recognizes that home energy storage is a growing market, and it’s where a lot of consumers are headed when they think about energy. We have made significant investments in acquiring technologies and building them out to create this new business in the home energy storage and solar space.
“The investment in Reno is one of the first things we are doing to expand our footprint, as well as our engineering talent pool and capabilities,” Rogan added.
Generac Clean Energy’s new 42,000 square-foot facility was completed in December 2022. Frank Lepori Construction built the facility as an investment property for neighboring circuit-board assembler EE Technologies owner Sonny Newman. Ian Cochrane of Logic Commercial Real Estate facilitated lease negotiations on behalf of EE Technologies.
Headquartered at Waukesha, Wisconsin, Generac made its name by manufacturing portable commercial and residential generators. Generac Clean Energy, meanwhile, is a business unit within Generac that focuses on home energy battery storage and solar electronic products for the U.S. residential market. Generac’s primary clean energy storage solution is its PWRcell integrated solar and battery energy storage system.
Rogan said that Generac Clean Energy won’t do any product manufacturing at the new Reno facility; rather, the center will house heavy lab and testing equipment to perform a range of necessary quality and reliability test functions, such as accelerated life testing, operating conditions under high and low temperatures, and simulations of many different environmental conditions.
“It requires a lot of space to build those (testing) chambers and (install) testing equipment,” Rogan said. “The devices we are installing in homes all need to be put through rigorous long-term testing to make sure they can last in our customers’ homes for 25 or more years.”
“Quality is essential in this market – these devices go into peoples’ homes, and they expect them to work reliably for long periods of time,” he added. “In order to deliver products of that quality, you have to make significant investments in your design and testing to make sure you hit the quality marks that consumers demand. It’s absolutely critical.”
Generac has facilities worldwide and employs more than 5,000. Engineers at facilities in Maine and Vancouver are working on developing the products of today and the future. Engineers at the Reno facility, meanwhile, will perform testing on all those products, as well as conduct some of the engineering and R&D for next-generation energy storage solutions.
Having a dedicated engineering and testing facility helps Generac refine those technologies and usher them more quickly into commercial production, Rogan said. Generac leased a blank industrial shell building that was primed for tenant improvements, which allowed the company to create optimal work flows and quickly ramp up its R&D teams — facts that helped cement its decision to locate the center for engineering excellence in Northern Nevada.
“It’s exactly what we needed,” Rogan said. “We need to order all our heavy lab testing equipment, and we needed a location that was ready for those test chambers, manufacturing testing and other heavy lab equipment. This site was perfect.”
Northern Nevada’s growing presence in the energy storage market for electric vehicles, home energy systems and electronics also proved pivotal – Generac already has succeeded in bringing additional engineering talent to the region, Rogan noted. Generac already employs 20 at the Reno engineering center, a number that’s expected to grow to 100 over the next 24 to 36 months, Rogan said. The center is expected to be fully operational in the next six months as equipment is delivered and installed, he added.
“The talent pool in Reno has exploded. Generac and a number of other companies have invested in facilities in this space for those same reasons. There’s a virtuous cycle that gets created to help increase the talent pool in the region, which creates more draw for companies to build facilities in the region.”
The company is actively seeking engineers in a range of specialties, including electrical, mechanical, firmware and software.
“We are hiring,” Rogan said. “Part of the reason we are here is because of the talent pool, but the battery and energy technology space is a highly competitive market.”
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