Learn more about the people that make Luminalt dedicated to the community, a leader in industry trends, and known for excellent customer service.
Jeanine Cotter, President and CEO
Jeanine co-founded Luminalt to bring clean, reliable, local power to cities and create quality jobs for residents. One of few women CEOs in solar, and one of fewer still who holds the company’s contractors license, she is widely considered an industry expert. Jeanine is on several national and local committees focused on establishing solar industry standards, renewable energy advocacy, creation of inner city jobs, small business and sustainable business practices. In 2013 she was elected to the Board of Directors of CALSEIA, California’s solar industry trade organization. Jeanine established Luminalt as the first workforce development certified solar company in San Francisco because she is committed to creating pathways into solar for people underrepresented in the field. Her work has earned her recognition from the CA Legislative Assembly, including the 2015 Woman of the Year award for District 19, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, and several nonprofits.
Noel Cotter, Chairman of the Board and Chief Technology Officer
Co-founder of Luminalt, Noel built his first solar electric system in 1981, a 50kW grid-tied system in Cork, Ireland. Committed to craftsman level quality solar electric and solar hot water installations, he and Jeanine founded Luminalt in 2004. An avid supporter of continuing education for installers and for keeping training relevant to the practical skills installers need to ensure safe and high performing systems, Noel frequently teaches solar classes and advises on curriculum; he developed the curriculum and taught the first solar thermal course at City College of San Francisco, is a Subject Matter Expert (SME) on the California State License Board panel that creates questions for the solar contractor exam, and on the NABCEP® committee that crafted the Technical Sales examination. Noel holds three California contractor licenses, a C-10 electrical, C-46 solar and class B general and is a NABCEP® Certified PV Installer. Noel holds three separate certifications on energy efficiency and building performance from the Building Performance Institute. Noel has worked with most renewable energy technologies, including wind and micro-hydro. He has been an expert witness in arbitration hearings, in support of homeowners who have had poorly installed systems by other solar companies. Noel runs the installation team here at Luminalt.
August Goers, VP of Engineering
August built his first solar electric system in 1997. He has devoted his career to the craft of designing and installing quality solar electric and solar thermal systems. A national solar expert, he started teaching best practices classes as Solar Power International in 2009 and now teaches regularly at San Francisco’s Pacific Energy Center. He is a Cal Poly trained mechanical engineer and holds both the NABCEP® Certified Solar PV Installer and NABCEP® Certified Solar Thermal Installer certifications. You can read more about his background in solar on the NABCEP® website. August also holds Luminalt’s C-20 HVAC contractor’s license and is a California Certified General Electrician. He was an active participant in the SF Department of Building Inspection’s revision of the PV permitting requirements and has managed multiple volunteer installations with solar non-profit GRID Alternatives. August oversees the engineering and design team and project management.
Brian Ruiz, Lead Installer
As a crew lead, Brian often serves as a link between the homeowner, installation crew, and the Luminalt office. As a lead installer with numerous certifications and specialized coursework, Brian helps clients with any questions regarding the installation, scheduling, inspection procedures, property access exclusions, aesthetics of the install, materials used in the process, logistics, and so on. Brian enjoys spending time with his big family, camping in the summer, snowboarding in the winter, and riding his motorcycle all year round. A San Francisco native, Brian has two terriers, Shasty and Chisel.
Dusty Hathaway, Lead Installer
Originally from Iowa, Dusty got his start in solar after taking courses at San Francisco City College in Electrical. Some of Dusty’s favorite things about Luminalt are how knowledgeable and dedicated to solar everyone is, and how he is now a part of helping people get better, cheaper electricity. In his spare time, he enjoys skateboarding and playing with his daughter.
Kevin Clark, Solar Installer Crew Lead
Personable, thoughtful and passionate about building great solar systems, Kevin inspires his fellow crew members to do excellent work. He likes the variety of solar work at Luminalt – single and multi-family residential as well as commercial projects on a wide variety of different types of buildings and ground mounts. Originally from Bakersfield, Kevin has lived in San Francisco since 2001. He started in solar in 2009, first volunteering with GRID Alternatives, then taking solar courses at California South Bay University where he earned his entry level NABCEP and OSHA 10 certification. Kevin worked for a solar installation company down in the South Bay on numerous commercial projects before joining Luminalt. His favorite pastimes are hiking, biking, running, collecting records, playing music, cooking and brewing beer.
Pamela Quan, Solar Installer
Born and raised in San Francisco, Pam was introduced to solar at Asian Neighborhood Design and came to us right after graduation. She is fascinated by how the panels generate clean energy from the sun. She enjoys spending time with her family and listening to music. Pam loves the diversity of the Bay Area and looks forward to a career in a growing industry with a bright future.
Joe Smith, Warehouse Manager
With over a decade in solar, Joe came to Luminalt with a breadth of solar installation experience. Joe is Luminalt’s capable and unflappable Warehouse Manager. Camaraderie and coordination of office and field is critical to designing and building great solar systems and delighting customers. Joe supports this by facilitating communication and coordination between office and field, making sure his colleagues have what they need to do great work. Customer service and teamwork are always Joe’s highest priorities. In his personal time, Joe spends much of his time outdoors, being an avid skier in winter, and camping and kayaking through the warmer months in the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Engineering and Analysis Team
Eric Schoonbaert, Senior Applications Engineer
With Luminalt since 2007, Eric plans the technical aspects of installations from pre-installation visits through permitting. Despite the overwhelming number of conflicting and ever changing solar codes throughout the Bay Area, Eric stays up to date on them. He regularly walks homeowners through technical questions over the phone, and lives the Luminalt ethos of working with the client’s best interests in mind. Dedicated to living green, Eric bikes to work each day.
Chase Christie, Consultant
Originally from Anchorage, Alaska, Chase has been in the Bay Area since 2005, moving here shortly after graduating from the University of Oregon. After several years in commercial and residential construction and development, Chase decided to make the leap into solar. He started as a volunteer for California-based GRID Alternatives. Chase came to Luminalt after volunteering with former Luminalt installer Anukene Warda in rural Nicaragua, where they installed solar-powered irrigation systems with Portland-based NGO Green Empowerment. In his spare time, Chase enjoys playing music, hiking, camping, and is currently studying for the NABCEP Technical Sales Examination. If you have questions about electric vehicles, Chase is an enthusiastic advocate for pairing solar with EVs. He performs site visits and cost analyses for homeowners interested in solar.
Zach Sharpe, Solar Consultant
Zach is committed to enabling the Bay Area community to go solar. While earning his MBA in Sustainable Business from the Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco, he became focused on climate resilience – the ability of a community to adapt to effects of climate change. Zach sees solar is a key ingredient to resilient communities. He was first introduced to Luminalt during a solar irrigation project in rural Nicaragua for Green Empowerment. In addition to his work at Luminalt, he is a USGBC-NCC Sustainable Neighborhoods committee member, and is currently authoring the resilience chapter of the USGBC’s California Council of Experts’ white paper that will be given to California policy makers. In his spare time he plays in several bluegrass bands, enjoys mountain biking, and challenges anyone to take him on in ping pong. He performs site visits and cost analyses for homeowners interested in solar.
Izzy Carson, Director of Operations
Izzy has been with Luminalt since 2009. A native San Franciscan and graduate of UC Santa Cruz’s Environmental Studies and Economics programs, Izzy oversees Luminalt’s Operations Team. Certified by NABCEP® in PV Technical Sales, Izzy designs proposals, drafts contracts, coordinates panel orders, and schedules the installation teams. She is particularly knowledgeable on the financial payback and return on investment associated with installing solar. When not managing Luminalt’s friendly and knowledgeable office team, Izzy loves being outdoors – she grows tomatoes, kale, and fruit trees in Luminalt’s backyard, taking advantage of the Mission’s sunny weather. Her dog Petie is the mascot for Luminalt’s softball team.
Melissa McDermott, Manager of Community Engagement
With her upbeat, positive and can do attitude, Melissa manages Luminalt’s initial client experience and community engagement efforts. A graduate of Asian Neighborhood Design, a local jobs training non-profit, Melissa knew that Luminalt was where she wanted to be after Jeanine was a guest speaker in her class. She has returned to AND to be a guest speaker to inspire others and was recently appointed to AND’s Employer Advisory Committee. Melissa loves working in a field that has a positive influence on the community, and she embodies Luminalt’s core values of honesty, transparency and support. A mom to two kids in grade school, Melissa brings boundless enthusiasm and energy to Luminalt’s clients.
Cara Keegan, Solar Analyst
Born and raised in San Francisco, Cara joined Luminalt after graduating from Sonoma State University where she studied Energy Management and Design. Cara works with prospective clients, keeping them excited about solar and helping them determine if solar makes sense for them. Other responsibilities include, preparing welcome kits for our customers who have chosen to move forward and keeping our database up to date. She discovered her love of solar while volunteering with solar non-profit Grid Alternatives and loves working at Luminalt because she can walk to work and have a positive impact on the community. Cara has volunteered at several local animal shelters and has a dog named Goose. In her spare time she enjoys yoga, photography and exploring the Bay Area.
Elsie Tracy, Accountant
Elsie has over twelve years of accounting experience in a home building environment. She is passionate about local jobs staying in the community while assisting in Luminalt’s continued mission of environmental responsibility through solar energy. She enjoys the arts, cooking and outdoor activities. She is a “Big Sister” through the Big Brother Big Sister organization and cares about giving back to the community. She is responsible for all accounting and enjoys working closely with clients as well as the Luminalt staff.