Renewable tech firm Zola hires former Google CIO to boost offgrid solutions

Renewable tech firm hires former Google CIO Ben Fried
Ben Fried

Technology architecture specialist recruited to boost solutions of offgrid solar and storage company

San Francisco renewable energy technology company Zola Electric has hired former Google chief information officer Ben Fried as a senior advisor and board member.   

Previously, he spent 13 years at financial services company Morgan Stanley where he designed and built the firm’s e-commerce and intranet architecture and infrastructure.

Founded in 2011, Zola provides solar and storage solutions to communities with little or no access to electricity.

The company started by providing solar home solutions to off-grid rural communities in Tanzania.

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Zola chief executive Bill Lenihan said Fried’s “technological achievements are significant – from overseeing the creation and launch of Google Meet, to deploying one of the first and largest zero-trust network architectures, BeyondCorp”.

“His exceptional skills and experience in bringing enterprise technology solutions to market, digital transformation, and building and leading highly innovative technology organizations will be hugely valuable to Zola and for our mission.

He added that ZOLA “aims to fill the ‘white space’ in the energy access industry landscape, by the development of our Enterprise energy technology platform, which is purpose-built to bring reliable, affordable and clean power to three billion people and hundreds of millions of schools, clinics, farms and business that lack it”.

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Fried said he was “particularly impressed by the sophisticated architecture of ZOLA’s unique energy technology platform and the innovative technology solutions it is deploying to drive away energy inequality across the globe”.

Fried’s appointment follows Zola’s launch of a distributed mini-grid in Rwanda, in partnership with META (formerly Facebook) and the Shell Foundation.

The breaking project powers over 1000 homes and businesses in two villages in rural Gakagati via a decentralised, modular and scalable energy and storage system.

Meanwhile, over on our sister site GridVerse – Enel Grids’ approach to the metaverse

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