The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) announced that it has hired solar veteran Erika Symmonds as vice president of equity and workforce development. In this role, Erika will design and oversee programs to ensure that the solar workforce is ready to meet the challenges of the Solar + Decade, and that the industry’s workforce reflects the diversity and richness of our nation.This hire comes as the solar industry is poised to be the largest source of U.S. electricity generation by the end of this decade and as SEIA projects that the solar workforce will grow to 1 million strong in that time. It also emphasizes the association’s commitment to centering equity in its work, including, but not limited to, building a diverse, equitable, inclusive and just solar industry. SEIA has a goal for solar and storage to generate 30% of U.S. electricity by 2030 as part the Solar+ Decade.
Erika comes to SEIA from Grid Alternatives, where she was vice president of workforce development and service-learning.
Silfab Solar, announced the appointment of Rob Jessen as Chief Financial Officer effective Feb. 23, 2022. Jessen replaced Hanna Ayyad who has been Silfab’s CFO since August 2014.
Jessen brings tremendous experience having been at Ernst & Young for 25 years becoming a Senior Partner and Leader of EY’s Global Energy Sector. He previously served as a CFO and member of various Boards of Directors, and more recently he has contributed his extensive knowledge in a consulting capacity, working closely with the Silfab executive team on financial strategy and organizational structure.
Reactivate, the community solar-focused joint venture between Invenergy and impact investment platform Lafayette Square, announced that industry veteran Utopia Hill has joined the JV as Head of Engineering, Procurement and Construction.
Hill, who also serves as Vice President, Renewable Construction at Invenergy, will assist Reactivate finance, acquire, develop, and operate solar energy projects primarily serving low-to-moderate income communities. Hill joined Invenergy in 2005 as the company’s first minority and female engineer hired by the developer. In her time at Invenergy, she helped found and is one of the chairpersons of Black and Brown at Invenergy, an affinity group focused on increasing awareness, presence, opportunity, participation, and advocacy for people of African ancestry in sustainable energy careers. Hill graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in Aerospace Engineering.
Swift Current Energy, announced that Rick Knauth has joined the company as Executive Vice President of Asset Management. In this newly created role, Knauth will grow Swift Current’s Asset Management capabilities as the company continues to establish itself as a leading renewable energy independent power producer.
Knauth brings to Swift Current more than 20 years of experience in the renewable energy and electric power sectors. He has held leadership roles at Vestas, Northern Star Generation Services and El Paso Merchant Energy. Most recently, Knauth was Co-President of Renewable Services at Consolidated Asset Management Services, an asset management services company focused on providing superior operational performance, tactical commercial optimization and strict financial controls.
Greenbacker Capital Management, a leader in sustainable infrastructure investment, announced that Maya Rao has been hired as a Managing Director on the Investments team. Rao’s addition—which underscores Greenbacker’s continuing growth—bolsters the firm’s ability to expand its clean energy investments beyond traditional sectors, particularly in battery storage.
As a deal team lead, Rao will execute on the company’s growth strategy and oversee deal origination, deploying capital into an expanding market of sustainable infrastructure opportunities. She brings over a decade of experience successfully executing M&A and capital raising transactions in the renewables, energy trading, and financial services sectors. Rao most recently served as Vice President and Head of the Partnerships & Transactions team for RWE Renewables Americas, leading the company’s asset acquisitions and divestments across onshore wind, solar, and storage.
Nicola Rosenkranz has taken over the position of Managing Director at Valentin Software, replacing Steffen Lindemann, who is leaving the company on March 31, 2022.
Valentin Software has been a provider of design and simulation software in the international renewable energy market for more than 30 years, with its software products for simulating, designing, forecasting and calculating the profitability of photovoltaic, solar thermal and heat pump systems.
Rosenkranz has worked in international business development functions for more than 20 years, including 11 years in the renewable energy industry with a focus on photovoltaics. She is an experienced program and project manager, with a holistic skillset, and brings classic as well as agile management methods to Valentin Software.
AC Power, a woman-owned solar brownfield redeveloper, is pleased to welcome three new employees to its team. Karen Jernigan, Gina Wolfman and Corey Hindin joined AC Power with extensive experience in the solar sector, and have hit the ground running. These strategic hires were brought on as AC Power expands its solar development expertise further into the Mid-Atlantic region, as well as in emerging markets such as the Midwest, Southwest, and Appalachia.
Karen Jernigan, joins as Vice President of Development and Partnerships, with 20 years of senior leadership experience in energy, having co-owned a global solar and oil remediation consultancy. Gina Wolfman brings 12 years experience in brownfield redevelopment as she joins the Project development team as Senior Director of Project Development. Corey Hindin will round out the team as Senior Director of Business Development. Corey comes to AC Power with 6 years of experience in clean energy with particular focus in site origination and relationship management.
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