HelioVolt Delays Commercial Shipping Until 2010, While CEO Steps Down

Updated: Thin-film solar developer HelioVolt won’t be shipping its commercial thin film solar material until at least early 2010, a HelioVolt spokesperson told us today, and at the same time is doing the management shuffle. Founder BJ Stanbery will no longer be in the CEO spot — he’ll serve as chief strategy officer and chairman of the board. (Update: We clarified this story to explain that the company won’t ship commercial certified products until 2010, but will be sending customer samples and certification products in the second half of 2009).

The Austin, Texas-based company previously expected the 122,400-square-foot plant to start operations in 2008, with sales of HelioVolt’s solar products to kick off early this year. In terms of the management shift, HelioVolt said the move comes as it enters its “next phase of growth,” and that it will start an international search for a permanent replacement. Director Ron Bernal, a partner at HelioVolt investor Sequel Venture Partners, was appointed interim chief executive. The company also hired Sanjeev Kumar, the former chief financial officer of Energy Conversion Devices to fill the open post of CFO at HelioVolt.

While it’s not uncommon for startups to bring in a new CEO for the commercial stage, it comes at a time when a number of solar startups, including HelioVolt, are taking steps to cut costs and even rethink their business plans. Earlier this month, HelioVolt laid off about 15 workers, and Hayward, Calif.’s OptiSolar dropped 300 jobs — almost half of its workers.

HelioVolt raised $101 million in a Series B round in 2007, with investors including Sequel Venture Partners, Noventi Ventures and Passport Capital. We’ll see if that’s enough money to ride out this storm and meet these new shipping goals.

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