Solaria Snares SunPower's Shugar

Private solar player Solaria has hired away the former systems head of SunPower, Daniel Shugar, as Solaria aims to transition to being a major force in solar module sales.
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FREMONT, Calif. (

TheStreet

) -- Daniel Shugar, the former head of

SunPower's

(SPWR) - Get Report

systems business, who left the solar giant last month, has resurfaced as CEO of privately held

Solaria

, a manufacturer of advanced solar photovoltaic modules.

Shugar's departure from SunPower was a protracted one: Shugar first took a leave of absence last March from which SunPower management said he would return. However, SunPower then announced that Shugar had left the solar company permanently on Dec. 29.

Analysts viewed

SunPower's loss of Shugar as a blow to its large-scale solar business -- or at least another hurdle to overcome in ramping up the utility scale solar farm business in the U.S.

Shugar's hiring marks a transition for Solaria, as the solar company attempts to transition from a behind-the-scenes solar player to a full-fledged manufacturer and module supplier. Former CEO Suvi Sharma, who hired Shugar and will remain as president of Solaria, said Shugar will be responsible for leading Solaria from an R&D and product development company to a full-fledged manufacturer and module supplier.

Shugar spent 10 years as president of

PowerLight

, until its acquisition by SunPower. Shugar oversaw revenue growth from less than $1 million to more than $800 million, and he was responsible for the completion of more than 500 photovoltaic (PV) projects serving commercial, industrial and utility clients worldwide.

Shugar made a bold call in the Solaria announcement of his hiring away from SunPower, saying that "Solaria's patented technology gives us the opportunity to double the existing silicon PV capacity in the marketplace."

There is a lot of

focus on the private solar players , with

Solyndra

expected to go public, and

rumors of potential IPOs from

Nanosolar

and

Miasole

in 2010.

Over the weekend,

eSolar

announced that it had won a $5 billion deal from the Chinese government to build a series of solar thermal plants -- the largest such project in China to data. On a related note: eSolar, like Nanosolar, received early funding from Google.

-- Reported by Eric Rosenbaum in New York.

RELATED STORIES:

>>SunPower Loses Key Systems Player

>>After Solyndra, Which Solar IPO Will be Next?

>>First Solar's U.S. Ambitions Slowed

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