Robert "Nat" Kreamer, who co-founded SunRun and served at various times as President, COO and CEO, has become the interim president of Acro Energy, a solar integrator and installer based in Texas and Canada.
Kreamer is currently the "interim" president of Acro, said a spokesman. Being the interim president doesn't mean he's holding the job until a more suitable candidate can be found. Instead, it's due to existing contractual issues.
Those issues being Kreamer's association with SunRun, which helped inaugurate a new way to finance residential solar systems. SunRun builds, owns and maintains the panels on the roofs of residences. Consumers then pay fixed prices to SunRun for power over a long period of time. Last year, SunRun landed $105 million in financing to build 2,000 solar systems in the Bay Area. The idea behind the plan is to increase the appeal of solar by eliminating the high installation cost for the customers. Kreamer still owns stock in SunRun, but no longer works there, a spokeswoman said.
SolarCity cuts similar deals with its leasing program, which has been very popular. But it's a big math problem: this puts startups in the position of juggling large amounts of cash and managing installation teams at a time when credit remains a bit tight. How and if startups can navigate this remains to be seen and success to some degree will likely depend on the help and support these companies get from panel producers and banks.
By contrast, Acro is straight-on installer. About 80 percent of its work is residential and 20 percent is commercial.
Jim Flanary, formerly the COO at First Solar, has become the CEO at HelioVolt. First Solar specializes in cadmium telluride solar cells and HelioVolt wants to mass produce CIGS solar cells. It will likely be seen as a big win for HelioVolt as First Solar is renowned for its relentless execution when it comes to mass manufacturing. Flanary, though, is not immediately leaving First Solar. He's actually been at HelioSphera, a solar panel maker based in Greece, but it shows you what a name can do.
In February, founder B.J. Stanbery stepped down as CEO. First Solar is also looking for a CEO. Mike Ahearn, the current CEO, said he would step down but stay on as chairman. The leading candidate to take over is First Solar president Bruce Sohn.
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