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Recent overproduction of solar power materials has led to a situation where supply outweighs demand. Stock market prices are suffering, and many top executives at solar companies have left their positions. When leaders are shuffled too quickly through top solar jobs, companies can suffer from a lack of direction, vision and morale.
Over the past ten years or so, government funding and venture capitalists have backed the solar industry, creating solar jobs and positioning the industry to lead the nation to clean energy. But there have always been higher turnaround rates in top solar jobs than in more mature industries, where an executive might spend his or her entire career with one or two companies.
Virtually all of the major solar companies in the U.S. have lost a CEO or CFO during the last year alone. One executive, Sanjeev Kumar, has filled five solar jobs in the space of 12 years. Later this year, he’ll be leaving his position as CFO at Enphase Energy Inc. After Kumar’s plans to leave the company were announced, Enphase stock prices fell by about 25%.
It’s not only investors getting uncomfortable with the solar situation. Those working solar jobs in companies without a stable team of executives can lose morale and direction. Codexis is a company focused on biofuels, an industry facing the same high turnaround rates as solar. Wes Bolsen, the chief marketing officer for Codexis, said, “Uncertainty hurts the company. People ask who’s leading the company? What’s the vision for the company going forward?”
Clouds may be overshadowing the solar industry for now, but it isn’t going anywhere. It remains a key factor in the country’s plans to rely on renewable, domestic energy. However, a stable market takes time to grow, and for steady growth, top-level solar jobs need to be filled.
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