Arash Habibi-Soureh is currently employed with Johnson-Melloh Solutions in Indianapolis and holds two positions: Distributed Energy Resources Manager and Solar Measurement and Verification Manager. In his Distributed Energy Resources Manager role, Arash leverages multiple technologies like solar, batteries, and generators to not only produce energy but to also use as tools for demand peak shaving. He explains, “With the increase in demand charges being common practice in the utility’s business model, demand management has been an increasingly popular option for clients to manage their energy.”
For his Solar Measurement role, he uses various web-based technologies to collect solar production data to ensure the systems are performing as engineered. In this role, Arash states that, “Production data is also important in finding energy and environment savings calculations, and for the sale of Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) for the use of state and corporate Renewable Energy Portfolios.”
After completing his undergraduate degree from Purdue University in chemical engineering, Arash knew that he wanted to pursue a graduate degree. He debated whether he wanted to pursue an advanced degree in either engineering or business and saw the Chemical Engineering Professional Master’s Program offered a hybrid technical-business curriculum for aspiring professionals and leaders. “When I saw that Purdue had one of the first Professional MS in Chemical Engineering programs, with the opportunity to take MBA courses, I knew it was a perfect match,” says Arash. “Furthermore, the ability to choose a concentration area of specialization allowed me to learn the specific applications of chemical engineering I was interested in, which is a nice option in an engineering discipline that has so many broad and diverse career opportunities.”
Arash has found that the program has prepared him well for his various roles with Johnson-Melloh Solutions. He believes that the combination of engineering and business courses provides him with an advantage in the solar industry. “I use my coursework knowledge daily. As a chemical engineer, I believe our biggest advantage is that we are able to understand solar and energy storage on the atomic level. This is a unique perspective to the function and performance of renewable technology that is not commonly understood by disciplines focused on the system-level. I use such insight everywhere from design and simulation to system diagnoses and troubleshooting,” he states, “I often use my business classes to perform anything from cash-flow analyses for customers to supply-chain management (especially for a trade-sensitive industry like renewables). As much as we would like to think so, entities do not purchase and build solar solely for the environment; solar investment must make financial sense as well,” he elaborates. This has allowed him to have a rewarding experience so far. “We are able to save our clients’ energy and money, as well as the environment, which is a rare triple-win in today’s world. The added ‘cherry on top’ is knowing that adding solar anywhere is inherently good for everyone!”
As a recent graduate of the Chemical Engineering Professional Master’s Program at Purdue, Arash would like to offer advice to prospective and current students interested in renewable energy. “My advice to joining the renewable industry is to sincerely learn as much as you can from each facet. Everything, seemingly important or not, can augment the outcome of a project. In my experience so far, there has never been an opportunity where I did not have a chance to learn."