Repower, formerly Solar Universe, named Mahesh Mansukhani as CEO. Mansukhani led the $1.1B Tyvek business unit at DuPont, and most recently, he served as CEO of sBioMed, a startup commercializing a disinfectant. Founder Joe Bono, who previously held the CEO role, will remain with Repower on the board and in a consulting role. Solar Universe offers a franchise model for solar and home energy installers, with 42 offices that have deployed more than 50 megawatts of solar to date.
Choose Energy, an energy marketplace for residents and businesses in deregulated markets, just brought on Prasad Thammineni as chief product officer. Prior to Choose Energy, Thammineni was head of the mortgage marketplace at Trulia.
Blue Pillar, a provider of connectivity and centralized energy management software, announced that Kimberly Getgen has joined as VP of marketing. Previously, Getgen was VP of marketing at Tollgrade Communications. Blue Pillar has raised more than $20 million in venture capital from investors including Claremont Creek Ventures, Allos Ventures, Arsenal Venture Partners, and OnPoint Technologies, the U.S. Army's venture capital fund.
SiEnergy Systems, aiming to commercialize low-temperature thin-film solid-oxide fuel-cell technology, named Zakiul Kabir, former CTO of ClearEdge Power, as its new CTO. Kabir was most recently senior director of engineering at GlassPoint Solar. SiEnergy has received funding from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and the U.S. Department of Energy’s ARPA-E program. The early-stage startup is a subsidiary of Allied Minds.
8point3, the joint First Solar-SunPower YieldCo, set a target price for its IPO last week that could raise up to $480 million. Taking a look at 8point3's board, the independent directors are an interesting mix: Thomas O’Connor, a member of the board of directors of Tesoro Logistics and former CEO of DCP Midstream, one of the largest natural-gas gatherers and processors in the U.S. (O’Connor also held a variety of senior roles at Duke Energy); Norman Szydlowski, a member of the board of directors of JP Energy Partners and former CEO of Rose Rock Midstream; and Michael Yackira, who served as CEO of NV Energy from 2007 to 2014. He previously served as president of FPL Energy. In an interview with GTM from 2013, Yackira said that distributed solar was “a free ride” for solar owners, adding, “They use the utilities’ systems to sell solar-generated electricity at retail rates and they buy electricity from the system when the sun goes down."
Matthew Nordan, formerly an investor at Venrock and now a managing partner at MNL Partners, has been added to the board at Quidnet Energy, "a radical energy storage startup" that uses "pressurized water within natural geologic formations as the storage medium." Aaron Mandell, co-founder of Quidnet Energy, describes the startup as "a high-risk experiment that if successful could be an entirely new way to think about providing and storing clean energy." There is also a potential desalination element to the technology. Mandell co-founded AltaRock, WaterFX, Oasys Water, Coskata and GreatPoint, and he currently serves as the CEO of AltaRock, a startup developing next-generation geothermal energy.
Scott Ungerer, managing director of EnerTech Capital, is now a member of the board of directors at Enbala Power Networks. He replaces EnerTech's Wally Hunter. As GTM's Jeff St. John reported in March, "Over the past six years, Enbala has put its software to use connecting, aggregating and managing megawatts' worth of energy-using systems, such as industrial pumps, refrigerators, and other loads that can be curtailed or ramped up to meet grid needs. That makes it a top contender in the world of distributed energy resource management software providers." Earlier this year, the Vancouver, B.C.-based startup announced $11 million in new equity financing from GE Energy Ventures and Edison Energy.
Solaria, as part of its goal to expand from low-concentration PV panels to building-integrated photovoltaic facades, has named a number of architects and building experts to its advisory council. Former Pythagoras Solar executive, Udi Paret, is the leader of the long-in-the-tooth, VC-funded startup's building solutions group. On a more positive note, Solaria was able to spin out NEXTracker and its advanced PV trackers to create a fundable and strong-growth firm. Dan Shugar, CEO of NEXTracker, told GTM earlier this year, "We delivered about 275 megawatts in 2014...but this year will be well north of 1 gigawatt."
Terrestrial Energy named Christine Todd Whitman, former administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, to its advisory board. Whitman was the 50th governor of New Jersey. Terrestrial Energy's Gen-IV modular advanced molten-salt reactor design inspired Whitman to say, "I believe small modular reactors can be a critical component in the global efforts to reduce air pollution and combat climate change.”
From last week's column:
Bloom Energy's board of directors has made a change. Until early this year, David Goerz, EVP of investment strategy at Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo), was listed as a Bloom board director, according to Bloomberg (along with KPCB's John Doerr; former Secretary of State Colin Powell; Cypress Semiconductor CEO T.J. Rodgers; NEA's Scott Sandell; Bloom CEO K.R. Sridhar; Morgan Stanley's Eddy Zervigon, and Steve Case). But now, Bloom's website omits AIMCo, while Goerz has started his own investment shop and has not responded to inquires. Nor has AIMCo. Bloom could not confirm or comment on this change in the makeup of the board.