San Francisco, California (February 6, 2019) -- ZOLA Electric (“ZOLA”), formerly Off Grid Electric, today announced the appointment of Lyndon Rive and Peter Rive, co-founders of SolarCity, now Tesla Energy, to ZOLA Electric. Lyndon Rive will become Chairman of the Board and Peter Rive will become ZOLA’s Operational and Technology Advisor.
Bill Lenihan, formerly co-CEO alongside ZOLA co-founder Xavier Helgesen, has been named ZOLA’s CEO and will focus on accelerating the company’s growth into new markets and product lines. As President and CTO, Xavier Helgesen will focus on building beautiful products that provide clean, affordable, reliable energy and digital platforms to enable the company to scale.
The energy access deficit is critical in Africa, with more than one billion people and millions of businesses unable to access reliable or affordable energy. In urban areas, where 50% of Africa’s population will live by 2030, power cuts have become endemic. Access to clean, affordable, reliable energy will unleash the potential of Africa. It is a critical element of building economic prosperity and improving social, health and environmental outcomes. As a leader in the distributed renewable energy sector, ZOLA plays an essential role in delivering clean, affordable, reliable power, anywhere.
ZOLA Electric Appoints Lyndon and Peter Rive to Board and Advisory Roles
Lyndon and Peter Rive co-founded the pioneering SolarCity in 2006, and grew it into the largest distributed solar company in the world. Under their leadership and guidance, SolarCity completed more than 300,000 solar installations in the U.S.—representing approximately one out of every four solar electricity installations in American history—and created funds to finance more than $10 billion in renewable energy projects.
Lyndon Rive, Co-Founder and CEO of SolarCity, now Tesla Energy:
“I’m looking forward to taking on this board position. After witnessing and investing in ZOLA Electric’s impressive growth for many years now, I’m eager to play a bigger role as the company continues to democratize renewable energy globally. ZOLA’s business model and technology platform will enable countries around the world to leapfrog the electric grid.”
Peter Rive, Co-Founder and CTO of SolarCity, now Tesla Energy:
"At SolarCity, we expanded access to solar to hundreds of thousands of people across the United States. I’m excited to build on that work in Africa with ZOLA, where there is a unique opportunity to bypass traditional infrastructure approaches by building a distributed grid.”
Bill Lenihan, CEO of ZOLA Electric:
“As SolarCity, and now Tesla, have been longtime supporters of ZOLA and investors since our early days, we are thrilled to have Lyndon and Peter join our ranks. They share our vision for ZOLA and passion for holistically solving the energy access problem worldwide. With guidance from Lyndon and Peter, we aim to emulate the growth and success of SolarCity and Tesla Energy by building the right framework to scale and deliver our ambitious energy access goals on time and on target.”
Bill Lenihan Appointed as CEO
ZOLA’s executive team continues to guide the company’s development as the leading power solutions company for Africa. Bill Lenihan has been appointed as CEO, and Xavier Helgesen has been appointed as President and CTO. Together, they complement an experienced management team that includes Chief Commercial Officer Raghu Krishnaswamy, former VP Marketing & Marketing Operations, Unilever Africa; EVP Expansion Abdallah Khamis, former head of Coca-Cola, West Africa and head of Africa Royal Philips; and General Counsel Steven van Maasakker, former General Counsel for Heineken Group.
Bill joined ZOLA early on in the company’s evolution when it operated in Tanzania and has helped to transform an early stage startup into a multinational company, serving more than 200,000 homes and businesses across five countries in Africa and creating more than 1,000 jobs on the continent. Bill’s foresight and leadership have attracted investment from industry leading partners and investors including EDF, GE, Total, Helios Partners and DBL Partners.
Xavier Helgesen, President & CTO of ZOLA Electric:
“I couldn’t be more excited to have Bill take on the CEO role as we enter a new phase of growth. I co-founded ZOLA Electric seven years ago with the goal of making clean, reliable energy accessible and affordable to everyone. I have always believed that achieving this goal would only be possible if we attracted world-class executives, like Bill, who are driven by our mission.”
About ZOLA Electric
ZOLA Electric is the leading renewable energy brand in Africa, helping customers to power their homes and businesses, and stay connected with clean, reliable 24/7 power, anywhere. By providing distributed solar + smart storage technology that is affordable, accessible and reliable, ZOLA Electric’s offerings allow the average home or business to leapfrog the grid. ZOLA Electric designs distributed renewable energy solutions based on the latest in solar, battery and power electronics technology. Adaptable to energy need and income, ZOLA Electric’s power systems can be bought over time using PAYGo micro-finance and mobile money payments. ZOLA Electric powers more than 200,000 homes and businesses across Tanzania, Rwanda, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Nigeria. ZOLA Electric is a recipient of the UN Momentum for Change Award, the Zayed Future Energy Prize and is a member of the Global Cleantech 100.