Vivint Solar COO Jumping To SolarCity; Other Greentech Exec Moves

on November 13, 2013 at 5:00 PM

Steinbrueck Meets With Children At SPD Headquarters

SolarCity and Vivint Solar vie for personnel, funding, technology and customers in residential solar.

We spoke with Brendon Merkley, the COO of Vivint Solar just last month. Vivint is the second largest solar installer in the U.S. behind SolarCity (SCTY).

GTM has learned from sources close to the company that Merkley has resigned to join — wait for it — SolarCity. Vivint has confirmed that Merkley has left the firm. SolarCity has not responded.

This defection to SolarCity follows Vivint Solar’s CEO Tanguy Serra‘s move to SolarCity in April of this year. Sources indicate that the departure of Serra was less than cordial. Alex Dunn replaced Serra as CEO.

Both SolarCity and Vivint are vertically integrated, and in an interview last month Merkley, admitted that “SolarCity is the analogue.”

There’s plenty of intrigue ahead as these two fast-growing installers jockey for personnel, funding, technology and customers.

Plug Power’s CTO Adrian Corless resigned from his position at the fuel cell company. Keith C. Schmid was named COO of the struggling public firm. Previously, Schmid was President of SPS Solutions, a communication systems integrator.

EnTouch Controls, a provider of energy management systems (EMS) for small businesses and light commercial facilities, named Jon Bolen, formerly EVP at Westec Intelligent Surveillance, as COO.

Recent executive moves…

SunEdison (NYSE: SUNE) appointed Georganne C. Proctor, former CFO of TIAA-CREF, as a new independent member of its board.

Barbara Heydorn is now Director of the Center of Excellence in Energy at SRI International.

Thad Hill will succeed Jack Fusco as Calpine’s CEO in May 2014 when Fusco becomes Executive Chairman.

SolarCity added Bennet Van de Bunt to the firm’s Board of Directors as part of its $120 million acquisition of Paramount Energy Solutions in August.

Curt Vass is now EVP of Business Development at Scifiniti, which is working on thin silicon for photovoltaic applications and just closed a $10 million funding round. Sharone Zehavi, Scifiniti CEO, will be speaking next week at an IEEE event at PARC in Palo Alto, Ca. The 22-employee startup’s expertise lies in substrate creation, silicon deposition and recrystallization, with potential applications in batteries, optoelectronics and ceramics, as well as solar.

Sensus, a provider of smart grid metering and communications technology, named Randy Bays as president. Bays joins Sensus from Kinetek, where he was CEO.

Choose Energy named Kerry Cooper as its new CEO and recently added a $7.5 million Series B from KPCB, Stephens Capital and Michael Polsky.

In August we reported that Recyclebank had run into some financing trouble along with some layoffs. The firm was to undergo an “aggressive realignment.” We just learned that CEO Jonathan Hsu has been moved to advisor and replaced by Javier Flaim, while COO David Eisendrath has stepped down. In an email to GTM, newly installed CEO Flaim wrote, “Our business is healthy. We’ve experienced strong growth and success over the past three years, with membership tripling, an installed base expanding to all 50 states, and key strategic partners such as SC Johnson (who is still a partner), Johnson & Johnson, Unilever and Waste Management committed to long-term impact. Recyclebank lets consumers receive coupons and rewards for recycling, energy efficiency, and energy conservation.” KP’s Trae Vassallo called it a way to “get consumers aligned” with the goal of recycling. The firm claims it has 4.5 million members.

Eric Wesoff
November 12, 2013


We report on greentech industry employment news and C-level hires and fires. Contact [email protected] with news, good or bad, on the employment front.