Steven Chan is the new CEO at inverter firm Sungrow North America. Chan has had executive stints at Suntech, Andalay Solar, NRG Residential Solar and GCL Solar Energy. In July of this year, Sungrow allied with Samsung SDI in a joint energy storage effort.    

Tara Lowe was promoted to chief of staff at Geostellar. The startup just won $7 million in financing to lower solar customer acquisition costs via an online platform that lets residents simulate the value of a rooftop solar system at a specific location.  

London-based Telensa, a maker of networked LED street lighting with smart city applications, named Will Franks as CEO. Franks was on the board of Telensa and was the co-founder of Ubiquisys, which was acquired by Cisco. Will Gibson, Telensa’s current CEO, will take on the role of chief commercial officer. The firm provides connectivity and control for over a million streetlights worldwide, competing against firms such as Silver Spring Networks, Current/GE and Philips. In January 2016, the company raised $18 million in equity and debt from Environmental Technologies Fund and Silicon Valley Bank.           

Blake Richetta, former North American sales manager for Tesla Energy, is now behind-the-meter storage supplier Sonnen's VP of sales in the U.S. Prior to Tesla, Richetta spent 15 years at Lutron, a smart home lighting and shading business. Sonnen recently raised $85 million from investors including Envision Energy and GE Ventures. As of October, Sonnen had shipped more than 15,000 storage systems.

SolarCity has started the hiring process for its $900 million solar module factory in Buffalo, New York by holding "workforce information sessions" in advance of hiring 1,460 workers, 500 in manufacturing jobs starting at $12.50 an hour, according to reports by local TV news station WGRZ. But according to The Buffalo News, the hiring is happening "amid recent scandal that contractors working on the Tesla-SolarCity plant in Riverbend have not been paid by the state since September. This comes after New York state officials said payments have been held up because of extra scrutiny they are receiving in the wake of the corruption charges that have been filed over the process used to select the general contractor for the SolarCity project." The charges involve alleged bribery of state officials by contractor LPCiminelli’s CEO. 

Last week we noted that Raj Atluru, formerly an investor at Silver Lake Kraftwerk and DFJ, is now managing director at Element Partners LLC. Atluru was an early investor in SolarCity. It turns out that Element's new San Francisco office includes Anup Jacob as managing director, as well. Jacob co-founded Richard Branson’s Virgin Green Fund before moving on to the Deutsche Bank Masdar Clean Tech funds. Jacob sits on the board of Renovate America, a PACE finance firm. 

Solaria hired Ted Herhold as senior counsel, licensing and litigation. Herhold joins Solaria from Singularity LLP, an intellectual property law firm. Solaria provides solar technology aimed at building-integrated PV, agriculture, rooftop and utility markets.  


Enertech Search Partners, an executive search firm with a dedicated cleantech practice, is the sponsor of the GTM jobs column.

Among its many active searches, Enertech is looking for a Business Development Manager -- Distributed Energy Solutions

The client combines traditional & renewable power, energy efficiency, demand response, generation, advisory services and big data to help its customers capitalize on the new energy landscape as they move from consumer to prosumers; sometimes even as grid services providers.

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David Crane of Pegasus Capital Advisors (and former CEO of NRG Energy) has joined the board of directors of Vote Solar, a national nonprofit solar advocacy organization. He joins Danny Kennedy, Kate Gordon, Kris Mayes, Sheridan Pauker and Sanjay Wagle on the board.

Rodrigo Prudencio, formerly a partner at energy investor Nth Power, is now "on the corporate development venture capital team inside Amazon investing in and supporting startups, building cool things with voice and expanding the reach of Alexa Skills and AVS capabilities."  

From the previous jobs column:

Peter Thiel, a recent addition to Donald Trump's transition team, is bringing Trae Stephens, a principal at Thiel's Founders Fund, onto the team, according to Bloomberg. Stephens is on board "to help shape defense and vet Defense Department staff." Thiel has made investments in cleantech and energy including LightSail Energy, Stem, Vivint Smart Home and Transatomic Power, a startup working to commercialize a molten salt reactor. Thiel, known as the "Don of the PayPal Mafia," co-founded PayPal. He was also an early investor in LinkedIn and the first outside investor in Facebook, as well as one of the largest shareholders of Airbnb.

Here's a quote from an essay by Thiel: “Since 1920, the vast increase in welfare beneficiaries and the extension of the franchise to women [i.e., voting--Ed.] -- two constituencies that are notoriously tough for libertarians -- have rendered the notion of ‘capitalist democracy’ into an oxymoron."

Jim Hughes, former CEO of First Solar, has joined Eos Energy Storage as chairman of the board. Eos builds zinc-based batteries and has raised $50 million from investors including OCI, NRG Energy, AltEnergy and Fisher Brothers. The company has long been targeting a price of $160 per kilowatt-hour for its batteries.