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About Us - Our Team


Alexander von Welczeck | Charlie Kuffner| John Parsons | Dirk Michels | Walter L. Mcleod | Dr. Arnold Leitner | Art Athas | Bradley Bartz

Alexander von WelczeckAlexander von Welczeck

Managing Partner & CEO

Alexander von Welczeck is an innovator and entrepreneur in the CleanTech and Solar Energy industries. He is a subject matter expert for solar energy business and project development and financing. As an industry leader he works closely with trade groups, investors, as well as strategic global enterprises to accelerate the clean power revolution. He has an 25+ year successful track-record at identifying, building and managing technology-based businesses with a focus on renewable energy project development and financing.

He is a Founder of SOLAR POWER PARTNERS ("SPP", now NRG SOLAR), and as CEO from 2007-09 his team completed Nationwide (41) top-performing Power Purchase Agreement ("PPA") based PV systems financed via three different ITC tax equity portfolios. He concieved and originated the 2011 Concentrix (Soitec) "deal of the year" made up of 305MW of SDGE solar energy projects underpinned by a new San Diego CPV manucaturing facility.

Mr. v. Welczeck served in both domestic and international (EU) management and executive sales & marketing capacities at ThyssenKrupp, DOVER, DORMA, and Friendlyway.

He lived and worked in Europe from 1990–2001.

He is a University of San Francisco business graduate (1985), and is a member of the Construction Specification Institute ("CSI"), US Green Building Council, SolarTech.Org and The CleanTech Circle.

 


Charlie KuffnerCharlie Kuffner

Managing Partner & COO

Mr. Kuffner is the Founder and President of Sustainable through Innovation, LLC, a consulting firm related to the built environment specializing in Energy Conservation and Renewable Energy.

A registered California Civil Engineer, (PE), Mr. Kuffner had an illustrious 28 year career with the Swinerton organization, a $2 Billion/Yr. Western US Regional General Contractor. During his tenure at Swinerton Builders, he held several roles including Project Engineer, Project Manager and President. He also held Board Member and Executive Committee positions with Swinerton Incorporated, the financial holding company of the Swinerton Family of Operating Companies, and had the titles of Executive Vice President, Chief Operation Officer and Chief Technology Executive. While at Swinerton, Mr.Kuffner also held the Positions as the Chairman of the Boards of Directors of Harbison, Mahoney, Higgins Builders, William P. Young Construction, and Swinerton Management and Consulting, three other wholly owned operating subsidiaries of Swinerton Incorporated.  His Green Leadership at Swinerton included establishing Swinerton’s Renewable Energy Operating Group. 

Mr. Kuffner has had a long history in Green and Sustainability. During undergraduate studies at Stanford, Mr. Kuffner studied Energy Efficiency and Alternative Energy as a (unofficial) minor area of study and was a volunteer student carpenter that helped build the Stanford Solar Energy Test Laboratory (that is still collecting data for student solar projects after almost 30 years). This Environmental passion converged with the US Green Building Council LEED rating system, and in 2001, Mr. Kuffner, with the support of some inspired employees of Swinerton, championed the GREENING of Swinerton’s new headquarters, a renovated building in the South of Market Area of San Francisco. Instead of leasing, Swinerton’s Board, upon Mr. Kuffner’s urging, decided to buy their office building and to make it GREEN.  The building, 260 Townsend Street, was built by Swinerton for a private client in 1985. Upon the purchase, Mr. Kuffner championed the Present Value Analysis of Energy Saved by installing new Digital HVAC and Lighting Controls to save energy in the operation of the building. Swinerton was a Pilot project for LEED Existing Buildings and was recognized as the first LEED Gold in San Francisco and the first LEED EB in the nation with their LEED GOLD Certification. Mr. Kuffner and the Swinerton Green Team then went on to employ and train over 300 LEED Accredited Professionals on staff and be recognized as GREEN Leaders nationwide perennially being recognized by Engineering News Record as one of the top 5 GREEN Contractors in the United States.  Furthering on the market of Sustainability and Renewable Energy, he founded and set-up the Swinerton Renewable Energy Operating group.

Mr. Kuffner has also served on the Board of and held the position of President of the Construction Employers Association (CEA) – the management association of over 100 of the largest General Contractors in Northern California that is the primary Collective Bargaining Agent with the Carpenters, Laborers, Operating Engineers, and Cement Masons Trade Unions. Mr. Kuffner has been very involved on the CEA’s Legislative Committee and was active in writing, arguing and politicking for and getting signed by Governors Davis and Schwarzenegger of California three significant pieces of Commercial Construction Legislation Bills.

In an effort to connect Cleantech jobs with citizens that are in need of good paying jobs, Mr. Kuffner was a founding member of the Oakland Green Jobs Corp and member of their Employers Council. Teaming up with the Cypress Mandela Job Training Center, the Oakland Green Job Corp is training local residents the skills they can use to work in Solar, Energy Conservation, and other Cleantech jobs that are being created to conserve energy and to produce energy at a local and regional level from alternative renewable energy sources. 

Mr. Kuffner earned a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering at Stanford University and a Masters Degree in Engineering:  Engineering Management, also from Stanford and remains a regular Guest Lecturer in a variety of Construction Management Graduate Courses.

 


John ParsonsJohn Parsons

Managing Partner & CFO

Mr. Parsons is a seasoned executive with more than 25 years of management and investment experience focusing on new projects and ventures. He has been CFO at Zep Solar, a maker of innovative solar mounting components, cofounder and CFO of CleanREIT Partners, a company developing a novel way to finance commercial solar projects, and an advisor to TurkSolar, a utility-scale solar project developer in Turkey.  Mr. Parsons' energy background includes founding and structuring a Section 29 alternative fuels project that was acquired by Koch Industries and the Southern Company and generated over $2.4B in tax credits during its 10 years of operations.

Previously, Mr. Parsons was a Managing Partner and CFO at Residential Growth Partners, a real estate investment firm. He also served as a manager of Halo Fund II, a venture capital fund now fully invested, and as an advisor to Halo Fund I. Previously, he served as CFO of White Knight Packaging (acquired by Parmalat), Elk Creek LLC, and Olliance. Mr. Parsons is a serial entrepreneur who has served as an executive at eight venture-backed companies and was instrumental in building operations and processes and putting in place financial systems and controls. He has invested in and advised more than 40 start-up companies. In addition, he has represented investors as a board member of four companies. Mr. Parsons is also a Managing Partner in the Cleantech Circle and has been a judge in the Cleantech Open. Early in his career, he was a strategy and finance consultant at Ernst & Young, and he is a graduate of the Manufacturing Management Program at General Electric.

Mr. Parsons earned an M.B.A. from The Darden Graduate School of Business Administration of the University of Virginia, and a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.



John ParsonsDirk Michels (K&L Gates LLP)

General Counsel

Dirk Michels is a partner with the international law firm of K&L Gates LLP, resident in its Palo Alto and San Francisco offices, where he is a leader in the firm’s Cleantech and Alternative Energy practice group.  Mr. Michels advises renewable energy companies in corporate and project development and financing matters.  His work includes the full range of corporate and strategic advice, as well as assistance with all aspects of project development and complex debt and equity financing.  In his more than 15 years of practicing law in Germany and California, Mr. Michels has developed and negotiated corporate and project agreements for many companies engaged in centralized and distributed renewable energy projects – from power purchase agreements and interconnection agreements, to construction contracts, debt and equity financing agreements, and agreements related to renewable energy and carbon credits.

In 2011, Mr. Michels was recognized by the Daily Journal as one of the "Top 25 Clean Technology Lawyers in California" for his work in project finance.

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John ParsonsWalter L. Mcleod

Managing Partner, Clean Power Group Africa, LLC

Walter L. McLeod has over 20 years of executive experience in corporate and government strategic relations and business development in the energy sector.

Mr. McLeod is a Managing Partner with Clean Power Group Africa, a project development and finance company, building utility scale power plants in emerging markets.  He is also the Founder and President of Eco Capitol Policy LLC (Eco Capitol LLC) an energy policy and investment firm where he serves as a senior advisor to several energy companies, trade associations and startups.  He was a junior partner candidate with Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) Green Tech Partners Investment Team.  He also serves on the George Mason University Alumni Association Board.

Walter serves on several boards and advisory committees, including:
American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) – Infrastructure and Power Generation
United Nations Foundation – “Utility 2.0” (Energy Future Coalition)
George Mason University, Center for Energy Science and Policy
Commonwealth of Virginia Solar Stakeholder Committee (2014 Value of Solar Study)

 


John ParsonsDr. Arnold Leitner

Executive Project Partner

Dr. Arnold Leitner is an executive and entrepreneur with 12 years of experience in utility-scale solar and conventional power. He is currently an Executive Project Partner at the Clean Power Group and the Chief Strategy Officer of TAWA Power Partners, a company that enables federally recognized Native American tribes to develop and own solar power plants. He recently worked as an executive consultant establishing a 100 MW joint venture of solar photovoltaic (PV) projects in Ontario, Canada. He is the founder and former CEO and President of two prominent companies in the concentrating solar power (CSP) sector, SkyFuel, Inc. and ReflecTech, Inc.

Prior to starting SkyFuel and ReflecTech, Arnold was a Senior Consultant at Platts Consulting, where he distinguished himself as a leading expert on North American power markets and the economics of gas-fired power plants. While at Platts he authored a seminal solar energy study for the U.S. Department of Energy, “Fuel from the Sky: Solar Power's Potential for Western Energy Supply,” which is widely regarded as a comprehensive and influential assessment on the practical and commercial applications of solar energy in the American Southwest.

Arnold is the former Chairman of the American Solar Energy Society’s (ASES) Solar Electric Division. He holds a PhD in physics from the University of Colorado, Boulder and an MBA in finance and entrepreneurship from Columbia University, New York.

 


John ParsonsArt Athas

Executive Project Partner

Mr. Athas is a seasoned professional executive since 2001 in the solar energy industry. He has help companies build and run their global businesses.  He has meaningful experience with DG commercial and municipal solar Project Development, EPC Construction, Project Financing and Asset Management. He has also worked with utility-scale project developers, and venture-funded CleanTech and Renewable energy start-ups.

Mr. Athas experience and know-how include; general management, executive leadership, corporate strategy, organizational planning/staffing, utility-scale and distributed generation project development, traditional consumer marketing, fund-raising, and all aspects of sales (direct sales, channel selection & management, major account sales, sales team management).

Over the last decade Mr. Athas has become an established networker, skilled in cultivating and maintaining strategic alliances with key figures in global targeted markets and compatible industries, including energy storage and energy efficiency technologies. Mr. Athas is a Business graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

 


John ParsonsBradley Bartz

Executive Project Partner, Clean Power Japan G.K.

Bradley Bartz is a veteran entrepreneur who has founded many companies over the past 30 years.  

Mr Bartz is the Founder & CEO of ABC Solar Inc, one of California's leading DG solar businesses. Founded in 2000, ABC Solar focuses on residential and commercial grid-tied solar systems (www.ABCsolar.com).

Prior to ABC Solar, Mr Bartz lived in Japan from 1989 to 2000, where he founded the Internet Access Center K.K. (IAC) in Tokyo in 1991.  IAC started and sold several businesses including an Internet service provider business, Japan Auto Abstracts, Tokyo Journal Magazine, Japan Press Network and the almost one-million users at JMail, a free email provider across a set of vanity .co.jp domain names. The first corporate venture of Mr Bartz was Telemarketing Visions Institute, Inc., a 501(c)(3) not-for- profit that he founded in 1986 to teach blind people how to sell on the telephone. Mr Bartz successfully placed his blind students in companies like IBM. IBM donated talking computers to TVI in 1986 which gave Mr Bartz the foundation for his Japanese Internet ventures. Mr Bartz also taught blind people in Japan these telemarketing skills

In 2012, in the wake of the Fukushima energy disaster, Mr. Bartz moved back to Japan to establish ABC Solar Japan KK. Mr. Bartz's intimate knowledge of building businesses in Japan combined with solar industry expertise has allowed ABC Solar Japan KK to effectively access the fast growing renewable energy market; network of quality solar suppliers, EPC construction companies and projects.  Mr. Bartz's know-how have enabled him to excel at finding, screening and securing Japanese Mega solar land sites with a focus on the solar resource, grid access, fatal flaws, and quality of the stakeholders.

Mr Bartz is married to a Japanese national and has two children, Bradley Jr. 20 and Marie 18. He spends most of the time between Tokyo and solar sites across Japan. He is graduate of Loyola Marymount University and is an active member of the local community via various school and community organizations.

 

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