Magnetek Expects Big Gains in RE Electronics

Magnetek, a manufacturer of power conditioners for commercial fuel cells, is reorganizing the company’s operating structure to accelerate their growth in alternative energy markets.

“Alternative energy products currently account for less than 5 percent of our quarter-billion-dollar annual revenue,” said Magnetek Chief Executive Andrew Galef. “But that revenue has the potential to increase exponentially over the next few years, based on double-digit growth rates in alternative energy markets and proprietary power conversion products that we are now introducing for solar and wind power markets.” Magnetek’s Power Electronics business group in Valdarno, Italy and its Power Control Systems business group in Milwaukee, Wisconsin developed the new inverters. These products, together with the company’s existing fuel cell power conditioners, will be consolidated into a separate Alternative Energy business group. Engineering, manufacturing and technical sales divisions will continue in Valdarno and Milwaukee, and expand into Magnetek’s 180,000 sq. ft. facility in Shenzhen, China, according to Galef. Alternative energy business group management, however, will be centralized at the company’s corporate headquarters in Los Angeles. Stephen R. Torres was appointed as the executive vice president of the corporation, and is responsible for strategizing and guiding the development of the Alternative Energy business group as its president and general manager. Torres came to Magnetek from FuelCell Energy in Danbury, Connecticut. The flagship of Magnetek’s solar product offering is the Aurora photovoltaic (PV) power inverter, which is designed primarily for the residential market. Magnetek also has two entries in the wind market, a 4.6 kW multimode wind inverter that was introduced to the European market last year for stand-alone and grid-tied installations; and a modular wind power converter that is ready to be introduced in the U.S. market and can be installed in 625 kW modules or 2.5 MW “power clusters.” “For decades alternative and renewable energy sources have been fighting an uphill battle with comparatively cheap power from existing fossil-fuel-fired and nuclear plants. But finally the tide is changing,” Galef said. “Solar and wind, like hydro, deliver pollution-free power with no added fuel costs; and with incentives available in the U.S., Europe and Japan today, both wind and solar have reached installed-cost parity with ‘old-power’ plants.”

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