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, Chief Operating Officer
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 design and installation team.
Pamela Quan, Lead 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 loves her 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, Director Engineering
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.
Melissa Brewster, Manager of Community Engagement
With her upbeat, positive and can do attitude, Melissa drives a successful customer experience by ensuring clients are engaged, informed and benefiting from the full value of Luminalt’s services. As a strategic leader, she develops and implements best-in-class processes to consistently delight Luminalt’s growing customer base. She is responsible for the overall direction, coordination, and performance of Project Administrators and Associate Solar Advisors. Other responsibilities include procurement of all generation and monitoring equipment essential for Luminalt’s solar installations.
Melissa supports policies that forge career pathways for people with barriers to employment through collaboration with policymakers, employers and community-based organizations. Melissa works to improve workforce development systems that ensure equitable access for local, low-income communities. She is regularly invited to speak to both state and local policymakers including the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, California Energy Commission, SF Board Of Supervisors and the State Capitol. She is a graduate of Asian Neighborhood Design’s Green Building Program and serves on its Employer Advisory Committee.
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.