Alencon Systems, an immigrant-founded company that produces solar and other alternative energy sources, set up shop on Warmisnter Road in Hatboro in August.
Alencon is a business to business provider that serves large engineering and construction firms and developers. The company of eight employees hopes to take advantage of the worldwide market due to strong economics in the global solar industry.
“Three years from now, I expect to be exporting a major fraction of what we produce because … the United States is only about 25 percent of the worldwide market,” Alencon Systems CEO John Bunce said. “And with the economics, it would make sense for us to ship these to China, to Africa, to Europe because the economics are that strong.”
Bunce acknowledged the need for many sources of energy including nuclear, coal and natural gas because consumers use an “enormous amount” of electricity. He also sees continual growth domestically and globally for solar needs.
“Solar power in particular is becoming more cost effective every year,” he said. “I see solar growing substantially … It’s going to grow dramatically, there’s no question. The world just needs more power and we need to reduce imported oil. And solar can help in that regard.”
Horsham resident - and Alencon founder - Oleg Fishman was born in Siberia, lived in Israel for a time and eventually moved to America, where he settled in Philadelphia.
“He’s just a classic case of an immigrant entrepreneur with a great idea and worked very hard,” Bunce said.
He added that Fishman has worked in the power supplies industry for over 25 years. Prior to founding Alencon, he previously worked for Inductotherm where he sold systems that heat material for processing. According to Bunce, when the company began selling silicon to manufacturers, Alencon Systems was born in Fishman’s mind.
“When he saw how much silicon was being melted, he realized that there were going to be very large solar farms and they would need power inverters,” Bunce said. “He [then] developed the power inverter, our GrIPs [Grid Inverter Packages].”
The number one criteria Fishman and his colleagues sought when searching Philadelphia-area real estate was a building that could host at least one megawatt of power, Bunce said. The building they chose was built for manufacturer Procter & Gamble.
“They had a pretty large factory so they had a lot of power in there,” Bunce said. “It was a building with one megawatt of power and it is 10 minutes from Oleg’s house, so it just fits in a number of dimensions.”
Fishman uses his visions and expertise to mentor his younger engineer counterparts.
“The people who are working with him are students,” Bunce said. “Two of our engineers came from Rowan University. Oleg is an inventor, he’s a teacher. He’s training a lot of young guys. He’s kind of the real deal.”
Even though Hatboro and Horsham businesses are not on the client list, Bunce said that Hatboro is a great place to work.
“There’s a lot of support,” he said. “We’ve got architects and engineers around here. Our office manager is from the area. We’ve been very well supported in Hatboro and Montgomery County. It’s a good place to do our business.”