No rest for the weary in the evolving inverter business.
Enphase Energy has appointed Badri Kothandaraman as its new president and CEO. He is replacing Paul Nahi, who resigned last month after a decade at the helm of the microinverter supplier. “Following a thorough review of candidates, the Board determined Badri’s ability to connect people, vision and ideas to drive strategy and execution make him an ideal fit for his new role at Enphase,” said Steve Gomo, lead independent director of Enphase Energy’s board of directors.
Enphase had to restructure earlier this year after a tough end to 2016 and is now focused on a path to profitability. Kothandaraman has been COO at Enphase since April and spent more than 20 years at Cypress Semiconductor.
Empower Micro Systems is shutting down, just a few months after launching its Genesys 8K modular smart home energy platform. Empower’s technology was designed as a low-cost AC alternative to DC string inverters and microinverters for solar PV systems. The six-year-old company’s chief commercial officer, Jon Bonanno, noted in a post on Medium, “Our investors have gotten fatigued and Empower is now being wound down. The assets are for sale and we are working with the Trustee and interested parties on the auction coming in September.”
Dave Hoppe, former chief of staff to Speaker Paul Ryan, has joined the cleantech consulting firm 38 North Solutions as senior principal. “Dave will be helping us build our innovative technology and clean energy business in a bipartisan manner, while also being available to assist our existing client base to understand GOP thinking on issues relevant to our business,” said Katherine Hamilton, chair of 38 North Solutions and co-host of GTM’s Energy Gang podcast. Hoppe and Hamilton were colleagues when both were at Quinn Gillespie about six years ago. The Daily Caller referred to the move as Hoppe joining "the Swamp."
General Electric's Current has hired David Eisenbud, former SunPower veteran and recent managing director of distributed energy resources for EnSync Energy, as the new head of solar M&A and the company's partner platform. Current reorganized late last year to make the business leaner. Leadership said they were still committed to making the energy management "startup" a success.
Battery maker A123 Systems has appointed Peter W. Cirino as CEO. He has spent the past year as president of Europe for the company. He is replacing Jason Forcier, who has spent the past four years at A123 where he led the restructuring of the global automotive business after filing for Chapter 11.
Former SunEdison SVP and COO Luis Sabate is now the SVP of global operations at NEXTracker. He will be responsible for the EMEA, Southeast Asia and Latin America regions. The solar tracking market is growing steadily, but GTM Research says hardware vendors will increasingly also have to provide additional value, such as solar-plus-storage solutions, which NEXTracker is investing in.
Global renewable developer Mainstream Renewable Power has shuffled around some senior management. The company’s founder and CEO for nearly a decade, Eddie O’Connor, is now executive chairman. Andy Kinsella, currently group chief operating officer, is now group chief executive. Roy Gardner will move from non-executive chairman to be the senior independent non-executive director. Mainstream Renewable has nearly 10 gigawatts of renewables in development in emerging markets. Last year, Mainstream Renewable was the first clean energy company to receive a direct investment from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.
Eos Energy Storage is another company reshaping its senior management. The zinc hybrid battery startup has brought on David Henry as CFO, Richard Hanna as VP of manufacturing, Daniel Friberg as director of system engineering and integration and Keith Powers as director of field operations. Earlier this year, Eos landed a hefty partner in Siemens, who is working with Eos to deploy the batteries, adding power conversion for the DC systems as well as project development expertise.
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 VP of product within the distributed energy sector.
The client is an early-stage predictive analytics SaaS solutions company which provide utilities, traders, distributers, grid operators, renewable energy power stations, electricity retailers and energy consumers unparalleled visibility by leveraging advanced machine learning algorithms to deliver accurate, granular predictions, which are crucial for tackling the rising challenges of today's energy landscape.
The client is looking for a head of product, reporting directly to the CEO. This role will own the product roadmap and be the voice of the customer and requires a strong working knowledge of both the grid and customer side challenges in the energy industry. The ideal candidates will have owned and delivered disruptive products into the energy market.
Vikas Gupta is now a venture principal at Shell Technology Ventures in their new San Francisco office. He was previously director of global strategic marketing and corporate development at First Solar. Shell has said it's boosting its clean energy spend to $1 billion annually, but that’s still a fraction of its oil and gas upstream investment. At this point, clean energy investments are within the company’s core business focus, according to a company spokesperson.
Jorge Vargas is now the EVP and head of origination and project finance at solar finance firm Spear Point Energy in Aspen, Colo. For the past year, he served as EVP and head of Americas at AMP Solar, and before that co-head of the solar desk at Morgan Stanley Commodities.
Diane Hughes has joined nuclear startup NuScale Power as VP of marketing and communications. Before wading into the fraught world of nuclear power, Hughes was director of social media and digital experience at NextEra Energy/Florida Power & Light.
Alex Tiller has joined institutional investor Foss & Company as managing director of its new tax equity investment fund, Foss Renewable Energy Partners. The Denver-based group is looking to deploy $300 million in renewable energy projects by the end of next year, focused mostly on solar PV and energy storage. “The tax credit market is extremely inefficient for investors and energy project developers alike,” Tiller said about the focus of his new role. “Our goal is to streamline and simplify the process on both sides, allowing more capital to flow to high-quality projects faster.” Previously, Tiller was CEO of Sunetric, which was sold to RGS Energy in 2014.
Solar installer Sunfinity has brought on Joseph Kiwak as chief strategic and procurement officers. Previously, he was executive director of supply chain for Sunnova and VP of supply chain for NRG Renew.
Cypress Creek Renewables welcomed Joe Brotherton as EVP to oversee all aspects of the company’s O&M division. Before Cypress Creek, he was with McCarthy Building Companies’ renewable energy division and MaxGen Energy Services.
Former Sunrun analyst and GTM summer associate Sarah Krulewitz is now an analyst with Recurrent Energy on the company’s origination and structuring team.
This column ends on a sad note, with the recent news that Tom Gray, former AWEA executive director, has passed away. “There was simply no way to separate Tom from his love of wind power -- on more than one occasion, he told me there is no better job in the world than working in wind,” Greg Alvarez wrote on AWEA’s blog. A memorial party will take place on September 24 in Norwich, Vermont.