8minute Solar Energy hires first chief technology officer

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8minute currently has more than 18GW of solar under development. Image: 8minute Solar Energy.

US solar developer 8minute Solar Energy is aiming to further its technological know-how with the appointment of its first chief technology officer (CTO).

Kip Larson has joined the Los Angeles-headquartered developer having previously led technology teams at Amazon, Amazon Web Services and digital freight network Convoy.

According to 8minute, the appointment will bolster the company’s capabilities in developing and generating clean energy by expanding the traditional focus on hardware to include software engineering and machine learning.

“Clean energy is becoming more and more a technology business – the work we do designing cutting-edge power plants is more akin to smartphones than drilling for oil wells,” said 8minute CEO Tom Buttgenbach.

Larson’s work at Amazon saw him develop technology to optimise the company’s network of fulfilment centres to reduce delivery times to customers. He is now poised to do the same for solar and energy storage, helping 8minute deliver low-cost, clean energy, the company said.

Larson said modern software technology has “incredible promise” to transform how power plants serve customers and businesses, adding: “The clean energy transition represents the greatest opportunity our economy has ever seen to leverage this technology to improve human well-being.”

The appointment comes after 8minute hired Rahul Mathur as its chief financial officer last year and closed US$400 million in financing from institutional investor EIG in January. The company currently has more than 18GW of solar and 24GWh of energy storage under development.

Buttgenbach last week welcomed President Joe Biden’s move to waive tariffs on solar imports from Southeast Asia for two years. “With this decision, 8minute and the broader solar industry can resume the massive momentum we have built this past decade – deploying the most advanced and responsive energy technologies to support the country’s clean energy goals,” Buttgenbach said.

21 July 2022
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