Client Profile

Gary Meyers: Empowering the People Who Power the World

October 2022 / 5 minute read
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From electrical engineer to chip designer to software CEO, Gary Meyers has had a storied career shaped by his passion for building up young, promising companies to stand the test of time.

Now, as CEO of Power Factors, a leading clean-tech software company, Meyers finds himself at an inflection point in an industry that is poised for growth for decades to come: renewable energy.

“We love to think of Power Factors as a company that empowers the people who power the world,” Meyers said during an interview with Client Focus in September.

Gary Meyers, CEO of Power Factors

San Francisco-based Power Factors develops and offers software and analytics to help providers in the clean-energy industry manage their vast and growing assets from solar and wind to batteries and hydroelectric systems. The company’s cloud-based Drive and Greenbyte platform were designed to empower owners and operators of renewable energy assets to collaborate, automate critical workflows, and make smarter business decisions to maximize asset returns—essential tools they will need to accelerate the global energy transition from fossil fuels to renewables.

“Our solutions are really used to develop, construct, and operate renewable energy plants,” Meyers says. “We help our customers drive down the cost of producing renewable energy and increase the amount of energy they can produce from the assets they have. Our technology even allows our customers to participate in the energy markets, which are also transitioning from long-term contracts or purchase agreements to greater exposure to market pricing. People might think of energy as a dull business but the renewable world is going through enormous changes.”

A Generational Shift

That’s not surprising given the global energy transition underway—a generational shift of sourcing energy from carbon-based fuels like oil, coal, and natural gas to renewable energy sources like wind and solar. The increasing penetration of renewable energy into the mix is also leading to more electrification and improvements in battery storage systems. Central to this transition is the reduction of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions to help repair the climate.

The U.S. Energy Information Agency projects renewables will be a primary source of electricity generation by 2050, increasing from 21% in 2021 to 44% in 2050. Most of that will likely come from wind and solar, with coal continuing to lose share. Coal, which accounted for over 40% of American electric output in 2011, is now 22% of the energy output.

“When people worry about the planet, worry about domestic security, worry about access to energy, it drives change. Having those tailwinds helps to support growth,” Meyers said. 

Power Factors is supporting that evolution.

The company has grown from 40 employees in the U.S. to more than 500 globally since Meyers took the helm in 2018. The expansion was driven by hiring and acquisitions, most recently through its purchase of Inaccess—a clean-tech software developer in Greece with a portfolio of projects spanning over 60 countries. With that transaction, Power Factors’ asset management portfolio advanced to nearly 200 gigawatts serving over 300 customers worldwide.

In 2021, Power Factors was acquired by leading global asset manager Vista Equity Partners. Led by its founder, Robert F. Smith who serves as chairman and CEO, the software-focused investment firm has helped Power Factors accelerate product innovation and pursue new growth opportunities.

William Blair served as the lead financial advisor on the deal.

“When I joined the company, clean energy was a more fragmented industry. You had owners of solar assets, you had owners of wind farms, you had some owners of hydroelectric plants,” Meyers said. “Today, most owners have multiple asset classes—wind, solar, batteries, hydro, some have geothermal and biomass assets—so they view their operations as clean energy production and not asset specific.”

Global energy majors like Shell and BP are also using Power Factors’ platform as they ramp up their clean-energy production across investments in wind, solar, electric vehicle charging, hydrogen, and more.

IRA Boosts Clean-Tech Initiatives

Then came a summer surprise: the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) with $369 billion earmarked for climate change initiatives.

“The IRA has breathed a lot of new life and enthusiasm into this industry,” Meyers said. “Many of the government’s clean energy credits had expired, so the IRA’s investment tax and production tax credits come with a 10-year horizon of certainty. That will help incentivize investment.”

The Inflation Reduction Act includes a 10-year extension on solar project investment credits, a 30% credit for battery storage projects, and multiple incentives for the electrification of mobility. That consists of $3 billion of direct investments in electric vehicle charging stations and $7,500 and $4,500 tax credits for consumers to purchase new and used EVs, respectively.

Interest in electric-powered cars was already on the rise with consumers choosing clean-energy alternatives. This interest has been underscored by the huge investments from traditional automakers like Ford and GM to develop electric cars. Then California, the nation’s most populous state, announced the Advanced Clean Cars II rule, a roadmap so that by 2035 all new cars in the state will be zero emissions vehicles. Other states are following. Now the Inflation Reduction Act gives the clean-tech industry another boost.

“What you’re looking at is the demise of the combustion engine,” Meyers said. “Electricity is taking the place of gasoline, and it doesn’t make sense to build electric cars and power them with electricity generated by coal plants. It’s another tailwind for our business.

“We’re in one of the largest industries in the world—the energy industry—and it’s in transition. We have an opportunity to play a major role in that and for us it’s about executing our plans and enjoying the steady growth that’s expected over the decade to come. That’s what we’re all about.”