Energy, Utilities & Water  April 19, 2013

Newsmaker Q&A: New energy expansion to Old Town

Fast-growing renewable energy company Spirae has purchased a derelict car wash, with plans to transform the building into its new, dynamic lab and office space.

Spirae acquired the building at 243 and 255 N. College Ave. – formerly housed by Whistle Clean car wash – in downtown Fort Collins in late March. Currently housed in the Innosphere, the company has plans to renovate the property in time for an August move.

The company specializes in smart grid technology, and the integration of large-scale renewables and distributed energy sources. With CSU, Spirae owns and runs the InteGrid Test and Development Lab, one of the largest grid simulation labs in the world, and leads the Center for Smart Grid Advancement.

CEO Sunil Cherion shared with the Business Report what Spirae’s growth says about the new energy economy, and how the new space will keep his company at the forefront.

Question: How is Spirae, a company that has been housed in the Innosphere for the last two years, going to fill 10,000 square feet?

Answer: We currently occupy about 6,000 square feet at the Innosphere and lease about 1,000 square feet for a light assembly shop. We will be consolidating both at the new location leaving a little head room for growth. Spirae has been in operation since 2002 and moved to the Innosphere a little over two years ago to meet our growth needs at that time.

Q: What made you decide the company was ready to leave behind the Innosphere’s resources, and what are going to be the biggest challenges in doing so?

A: We have been looking for a more permanent home for Spirae for some time, and when the opportunity came to purchase the car wash location, we decided it was a good time to make the move.

Q: Downtown Fort Collins is one of the city’s most prized areas. How will Spirae mesh with and contribute to the downtown atmosphere and culture?

A: Spirae has been part of Old Town for several years. All of us at Spirae enjoy the Old Town atmosphere and look forward to being a part of it going forward. By renovating the carwash building and anchoring an innovative technology company there, we hope to contribute positively to the growth and character of Old Town. We will also be closer to the InteGrid Lab that Spirae owns and operates jointly with Colorado State University at the Powerhouse Institute (Engines and Energy Conversion Lab).

Q: The building cost Spirae $1.65 million – you must have confidence in the company’s future. What can we expect next from Spirae? And the new energy economy in general?

A: I believe that globally, we are on an irreversible path towards distributed, renewable energy. Spirae hopes to be a part of that transformation by supplying the next generation of products and technologies that make it easy to reliably manage any amount of distributed energy resources (generation, storage, loads) within power systems and to develop and deliver innovative energy services to consumers. We believe that our patented (and patent-pending) technologies give us a competitive advantage in this fast evolving industry.

Q: Where did the name Spirae come from and how is it pronounced?

A: The name “Spirae” was derived from words like inspiration and aspiration and it is pronounced just as it sounds in those words.

Q: The building you purchased is an old carwash. How are you planning on renovating it to reflect the needs and values of a leader in clean energy solutions?

A: The old carwash building is being fully renovated into a modern office building. It will house our network operations, software development and light assembly in addition to regular executive office functions.

– Maggie Shafer

Fast-growing renewable energy company Spirae has purchased a derelict car wash, with plans to transform the building into its new, dynamic lab and office space.

Spirae acquired the building at 243 and 255 N. College Ave. – formerly housed by Whistle Clean car wash – in downtown Fort Collins in late March. Currently housed in the Innosphere, the company has plans to renovate the property in time for an August move.

The company specializes in smart grid technology, and the integration of large-scale renewables and distributed energy sources. With CSU, Spirae owns and runs the InteGrid Test and Development Lab, one of…

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