It's been a busy couple of weeks, both for new executive moves and company downsizing.
First, to the layoff watch. PV Magazine covered recent layoffs at Spruce Finance. GTM confirmed that Spruce did issue layoffs in February, although the numbers involved were small enough not to require WARN notices. Spruce added that it has recently raised project and equity financing.
We covered the employee situation at bankrupt Sungevity here. California’s REC Solar has laid off 36 workers, or almost 20 percent of the company after a very weak 2016, according to reports and GTM sources. Gridpoint has laid off a small number of employees, according to The Roanoke Times. And Georgia-based Suniva is downsizing due to global module market pressures. The company wouldn't say how many employees it planned to shed in Georgia, but it handed out 59 notices in Michigan.
Now to some of the more positive stories, including moves from two executives who wound down SunEdison's assets after bankruptcy.
As GTM's Stephen Lacey reported, Lightsource Renewable Energy, a European developer, is expanding into the U.S. utility-scale PV market with a team of solar and battery storage vets. Leading the team are Lightsource CEO Tim Derrick, the former GM of utility-scale solar and wind at SunEdison; COO Kevin Christy, the former operations officer of SunEdison's North American utility arm; and CCO Katherine Ryzhaya, the former commercial officer at Advanced Microgrid Solutions (AMS).
Derrick and Christy co-founded Axio Power, a utility-scale developer acquired by SunEdison in 2011. Ryzhaya co-founded AMS, a developer and integrator of behind-the-meter storage projects that utilities control. All three of them worked together on a joint SunEdison-AMS 50-megawatt project for Southern California Edison.
Landis+Gyr promoted Richard Mora to CEO, succeeding Andreas Umbach, who has become Landis+Gyr's executive chairman. Smart meter and grid networking player Landis+Gyr is 60 percent owned by Toshiba. “The company, unaffected by Toshiba’s challenges,” is expecting $1.64 billion in revenues for the fiscal year ending in March, Landis+Gyr wrote in an announcement. That represents nearly 5 percent growth from $1.57 billion in 2015, and will come with year-on-year growth in operating profit and about $100 million in cash flow, it reported.
Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy named Ignacio Martin, Gamesa's former executive chairman, as interim CEO of the firm created by the merger of Siemens Wind Power and Gamesa, according to WindPower Monthly. The merged company has 75 gigawatts of wind power installed, with 27,000 employees in more than 90 countries.
Silver Spring Networks named Catriona Fallon as CFO. Previously, Fallon was executive VP and CFO of Marin Software. Silver Spring is a smart meter networking company that’s seeking to expand its software-as-a-service and internet-of-things business lines.
Mike Cassidy, once VP at Alphabet's X research lab, and Ben Longmier, founder of Aether Industries, have founded Apollo Fusion, which says it's making a “revolutionary hybrid reactor technology with fusion power” to provide “safe, clean, and affordable electricity to everyone.”
General Fusion named Christofer Mowry as CEO. Mowry was the founder and CEO of Generation mPower, a small modular reactor developer. General Fusion is pursuing a “practical path to commercial fusion energy.” The firm was founded in 2002 and is funded by Chrysalix Energy Venture Capital, Bezos Expeditions, Khazanah Nasional Berhad, Cenovus Energy, Growthworks, Braemar Energy Ventures, BDC, Entrepreneurs Fund, and SET Ventures.
Renovate America, a provider of PACE home improvement financing, named former Freddie Mac exec Paige Wisdom as CFO. Wisdom was chief enterprise risk officer and executive VP at Freddie Mac from 2010 to 2015. She served as CFO for business units at Bank of America and most recently, as CFO at Exeter Finance Corp, a consumer auto finance company. Renovate America also announced that Roy Guthrie is joining its board of directors. Guthrie serves on the board of Synchrony Financial and has more than 35 years in the consumer financial services industry. GTM dives into the good and bad in PACE here.
Wren Wescoatt, an executive at bankrupt energy firm SunEdison, is now working for NRG Energy, the company that took over SunEdison’s Hawaiian projects. He's the director of development, according to Pacific Business News. NRG Energy brought Wescoatt on to help it build utility-scale solar projects in Hawaii — including the three SunEdison projects with a combined total of 109.6 megawatts of solar power.
Chris Pais joined Axiom Exergy as director of field operations. Pais was previously director of system architecture at LightSail Energy and in project management for Bosch. Axiom Exergy's president Amrit Robbins spoke at a recent GTM event of “refrigeration batteries” with “$6 million in sales…to major national supermarket chains.” The firm has raised more than $3.5 million from investors including Element 8 Fund, Victory Capital, the MIT Angels, Propel(x), the Sierra Angels, and Tesla CTO JB Straubel. Refrigeration consumes half of the energy of a typical supermarket.
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 Senior Director Hardware Engineering — Distributed Energy
The client is a late stage start-up backed by sophisticated investors experiencing rapid growth. The company is delivering solutions that change how electrical utilities acquire, retain, and serve the needs of energy consumers, both commercial and residential.
This person will take over all of QA and HW engineering and must have deep experience and knowledge with inverters as they relate to energy storage. Must have a track record of delivering and have tackled a role of complexity while taking something new to market. Some management experience is required. Must be willing to be a very hands-on technical engineer and willing to get dirty and be a part of new product introduction.
After serving under President Barack Obama as 13th U.S. Secretary of Energy, Ernest J. Moniz has returned to MIT. According to MIT News, he intends to work on “policy proposals for climate solutions through clean energy innovation, and in the area of nuclear security.”
From the previous jobs column:
California Public Utilities Commission President Michael Picker gave out fliers in front of the Washington, D.C. offices of the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy. The fliers pointed to a webpage listing openings at California's PUC, Air Resources Board and Energy Commission.
Picker said, “On climate action, there’s a dark cloud hanging over Washington right now. If climate scientists and experts want the opportunity to continue doing important work for the good of our planet, my message is simple: Come West; California is hiring.”
President Trump intends to nominate Scott Gottlieb, a partner at venture capital firm New Enterprise Associates, to lead the Food and Drug Administration, according to Reuters. Trump intends to nominate Kevin McIntyre, a lawyer at Jones Day in Washington, D.C. to be chair of FERC, according to Bloomberg.