• Lyndon and Peter Rive, brothers and co-founders of SolarCity which is now Tesla Energy, have joined off-grid African company Zola Electric
  • Lyndon has joined as chairman of the board and Peter will be operational and technology advisor
  • Zola Electric has announced other executive changes - Bill Lenihan was appointed CEO, and Xavier Helgesen assumed charge as president and CTO

The Rive brothers, co-founders of US integrator SolarCity, now part of Tesla, have come on Zola Electric’s board. Lyndon Rive has joined as its chairman and Peter Rive as operational and technology advisor. Formerly known as Off Grid Electric, Zola Electric is an off-grid power company operating on the African continent, where it is providing distributed solar and smart storage technology to homes and business.

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,” said Peter Rive, formerly CTO at SolarCity.

After it was acquired by the Rive brothers’ cousin Elon Musk of Tesla in 2016, SolarCity became Tesla Energy. Both the brothers joined the company with the new brand identity only to leave it in 2017 (see Peter Rive Leaving Tesla). Back then, Peter Rive had reportedly said he would want to help non-profit solar projects in the developing world.

Another executive change at Zola Electric is the promotion of its co-CEO Bill Lenihan to the top job, while co-founder Xavier Helgesen was appointed president and CTO. While Lenihan will focus on accelerating the company’s growth into new markets and product lines, Helgesen will look at building products that provide clean, affordable, reliable energy and digital platforms to enable the company to scale.

In December 2018, Dutch development bank FMO and Symbiotics approved a $32.5 million financing package to support Zola Electric in electrifying 145,500 Tanzanian households (see Zola Electric Raises $32.5 Million).