Our People


Elaine Hebert


Elaine Hebert has about 13 years of service on the NorCal Solar board. She’s been interested in solar since the late 1970s and started her renewable energy career as a volunteer for Boston’s Urban Solar Energy Association in the early 1980s. Before earning her B.S. degree from University of California/Davis in Environmental and Resource Science, she worked in the wind energy industry and continued to volunteer in solar. In 2005 the American Solar Energy Society (ASES) awarded her the prestigious Rebecca Vories Award for outstanding volunteer efforts supporting ASES’s mission. In 2007, ASES named her an ASES Fellow.

Elaine works at the California Energy Commission and has been there since 1994. Her current position is in the Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) program, where she manages contracted research work in zero energy homes and sustainable communities. In her spare time she renovates a 1910 Victorian house to be as “green” as possible.

Elaine can be reached at Click for email address


Eric Larson

Eric joined the board of NorCal Solar to get involved in making a positive change in our environment and community. Advocating alternative energy is a way to leave the world in a better condition than he found it. He has taken solar energy classes through PG&E, and has done a solar roof install with Grid Alternatives.

A love of the outdoors and green spaces is in Eric’s DNA, having been born and raised in Oregon and getting his B.S. in Biology from the University of Oregon. Building on an MBA and 15 years in biotech marketing, he is a Product Manager at Zeiss Meditec developing medical devices. Free time is spent with his great wife and kids, landscaping his yard, golfing, playing tennis, and fly fishing in the Sierras. And, advocating solar and renewable energy!




Pete Shoemaker

Pete Shoemaker is the Renewables Program Coordinator at the PG&E Pacific Energy Center in San Francisco. He teaches a variety of courses for the PEC, including those on solar electric (PV) systems, solar water heating systems, and combining energy efficiency and renewables.

Pete has much experience in the renewables industry, including two years as head of the PV division of Poco Solar Energy, Inc., of Santa Clara. He is well-versed in sales and system design for both residential and commercial customers. Pete has worked as a PV consultant for green building projects in the City of Pacifica, assisting in design, permitting, and environmental impact reports.

Pete's educational background includes workshop and classroom teaching and curriculum design, including ten years as a lead educational software designer for The Learning Company. He has a B.A. from Stanford University.

Pete can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Justis Fennell

Justis is the accomplished owner and general manager of a regional wholesale solar distribution business for over 20 years. He specializes in Passive House remodeling.

Justis attended the UC Berkeley extension for multiple solar training and solar market analysis courses where he gained the knowledge he utilizes today in his business. He resides in Oakland with his wife and two daughters.

See our ByLaws


Donald Aitken

Dr. Donald Aitken, a LEEDTM Accredited Professional, is currently Principal of his own consulting company, Donald Aitken Associates, Affiliate Faculty Member at the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, and Senior Consulting Scientist for the Energy Department of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Previously he has been a staff research physicist and astrophysicist at Stanford University, where he founded and directed three laboratory research programs, and founder and Chairman of the Department of Environmental Studies at San Jose State University, where he was named "Professor of the Year". Dr. Aitken has also served as the Executive Director of the Western Regional Solar Energy Center for the U.S. Department of Energy, and Senior Staff Scientist for Renewable Energy Policy and Economics with the Union of Concerned Scientists. He has over 100 publications in these various fields.


Andy Black

Andy Black is owner of OnGrid Solar performing Solar Financial Analysis & Purchaser¹s Consultations. He specializes in the financial payback of solar electricity systems. He holds a Masters in Electrical Engineering and a Certificate in Marketing. He is a NABCEP certified solar installer. Andy is also a board member of the American Solar Energy Society, former board member and Treasurer of the NorCal Solar Energy Association and Solar Tour coordinator for the annual San Jose Solar Tour.

Phone: (408) 428-0808.


Tom Chatagnier

Mr. Chatagnier has been teaching electrical, electronics and computer courses at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, CA for 23 years. In the last 6 years, he has started courses in Alternate Energy Systems and Photovoltaic Design and Installation. The present PV Design course is NABCEP approved to offer completing students the opportunity to take the Entry Level Exam by NABCEP. Tom has worked with electric cars, wind systems and biodiesel.

 Noah Eckert  

Noah Eckert

Noah is Senior Manager of Development for TSMC Solar North America, a newly created subsidiary of TSMC, the largest semiconductor foundry on the planet. Headquartered in Taiwan, TSMC is investing in cutting edge CIGS technology (thin film solar) with plans to be a global leader in the PV marketplace in 5+ years. Prior to TSMC Noah spent nearly 3 years at BP Solar where he developed, built and financed over 10MW of PPA solar projects with Walmart, FedEx and Palo Verde College. He has demonstrated success in both the boardroom and the field. He is adept at working with disparate stakeholders, across the entire value chain, to drive projects from concept to operation. Noah is excited to leverage his skill-set and industry expertise to enhance Norcal Solar’s relationship with the community.

Before getting bit by the renewable bug, Noah spent 7 years in telecommunications and helped start up a private equity fund. He holds an International MBA and MS Finance from the University of Denver where he co-founded the Sustainable Energy Society and was President of the Association for International Management. He received his BA in Anthropology & Geography from Northwestern University.

Noah is a lifelong athlete and competed in the Big Ten as a springboard-diver. He has been coaching on and off since college, whenever work life allows, and loves those ‘a-ha’ moments that light up kid’s eyes when a challenge is overcome. He is looking forward to working hard with the Board to help make solar accessible.

Noah can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Bruce Lymburn

Bruce is the General Counsel of Clif Bar & Company. As a real estate, land use, and business lawyer since 1982, Bruce has represented companies and entrepreneurs in a very broad mix of matters and in hundreds of real estate and business transactions.

Bruce was a partner at Oakland law firm of Wendel, Rosen for many years, where he headed up the firm’s Green Business Practice Group. He also was one of the first lawyers in the US to become a LEED® Accredited Professional. Bruce also served as the Co-chair of the California State Bar’s Task Force on Sustainable Practice. Bruce's other experience includes stints as a geologist with the National Park Service in Yellowstone National Park, and as a criminal justice planner for Santa Cruz County. He has been a pilot and aviation enthusiast for many years and was a special deputy sheriff for the City and County of San Francisco, where he served as the Commander of the San Francisco Sheriff's Air Squadron.


Joe McCabe

Joe has been involved with the solar industry for the last 18 years. Currently Joe is Vice President of Business Development at Ascent Solar in Colorado. He is on the Advisory Council of Solar Today Magazine and is Chair Elect of the American Solar Energy Society (ASES) Solar Electric Division. He has been on the Board of Directors of: ASES; NorCal Solar; the Potomac Region Solar Energy Association; and Solar Cookers International. Joe is a life member of the Colorado Renewable Energy Society and ASES.

Joe has a Master's of Nuclear and Energy Engineering, University of Arizona; an MBA, Regis University; and a BS in Mechanical Engineering, University of Dayton; and is a licensed Professional Engineer.


Gwen Rose

As a renewable energy advocate with Vote Solar (www.votesolar.org), Gwen works with local partners in different states to remove regulatory barriers and create the policy infrastructure necessary to build solar energy markets. Prior to Vote Solar, she coordinated a climate protection and solar outreach program for the County of Marin. Gwen received her B.S. from UC Berkeley's College of Natural Resources in Environmental Sciences.


David Springer

A 1973 graduate of the University of California at Davis, Mr. Springer now manages operations, and participates in mechanical design, technology development, market transformation, standards development, and other projects, and is currently leading one of the four National Renewable Energy Laboratory Zero Energy Home program teams. He is an ASHRAE member and serves on the board of the Radiant Panel Association.


Tom Starrs

Tom Starrs has more than 25 years of renewable energy experience, with an emphasis on both distributed- and utility-scale solar photovoltaic technology development.He is currently the Managing Director of Market Development at SunPower Corporation's Utility and Power Plants business unit.Tom has served on the Board of Directors of the American Solar Energy Society (ASES, of which NorCal Solar is a chapter) and also served as ASES's Chair.

Tom holds a Ph.D. in Energy and Resources from U.C. Berkeley, and a law degree from the Boalt Hall School of Law at U.C. Berkeley.

 Sam Vanderhoof  

Sam Vanderhoof

President of Solar Cowboyz, Nevada City, CA. Solar Cowboyz offers comprehensive photovoltaic (PV) and renewable energy consulting, design, installation, and training services for commercial and residential projects in domestic and international solar markets. Technology development (hardware and software), for electric vehicles specializing in motorcycles and alternative vehicle development.
Vice President, Petra Solar, South Plainfield, NJ. Petra Solar is the largest manufacturer of A/C solar modules/micro-inverters for utility applications, and has installed a 40 mW project with PSE&G utility, the first to incorporate a successful use of solar energy with smart-grid. SEGIS/DOE 3 year contract.
Director, SMA America, Rocklin, CA. SMA America, a subsidiary of Germany-based SMA Solar Technology AG, develops and manufactures power inverters for solar, wind, and fuel cell markets.
Directed the activities of a team of 70 sales, marketing, and development team members. Produced accurate forecasting and P&L reports. Project Management for residential/commercial PV systems. Developed technical training including installation, troubleshooting, and maintaining grid-tie solar applications. Built SMA into the largest inverter supplier in North America, earning 90% market share.  Collaborated with engineering and German operations to develop new products for the American market. Landed several long-term contracts with the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD).
President, Schott Solar, Rocklin, California  Schott Solar is a global company with 19,000 employees that manufactures on grid/off grid commercial PV systems and high-tech glass for automotive and consumer products Partnered with SMUD solar development division providing Schott solar modules.
Vice President Sales and Marketing, Trace Engineering (now Xantrex)~ Arlington, Washington (4/93 – 12/00) Trace Engineering, currently Xantrex, is a developer and manufacturer of inverter technology for the renewable energy industry and backup power markets. Brought on board to lead Trace Engineering/Xantrex to global prominence in the renewable energy and backup power markets. Developed and directed worldwide marketing and sales strategies for all product lines. Drafted and negotiated all distributor and supplier contracts. Developed training programs for installers and energy professionals. Instituted and managed marketing communications. Created and managed all company budgets and P&L, including engineering. Established long-term inverter and service contracts with SMUD, for solar systems. 
Sam received his BS in Fine Arts and Mechanical Engineering from Chico State University. Currently on the advisory board of Solar Energy International Technical Training and Sierra College Solar Energy Advisory Board.


Claudia Wentworth

Claudia Wentworth is the President of Quick Mount PV, a PV, solar thermal, HVAC, and satellite code compliant roof mount manufacturer sold throughout the US and Canada. Quick Mount PV manufactures a standard mounting product line sold through distribution in the US. QMPV also does custom manufacture mounts for commercial, industrial and residential applications.

Claudia Wentworth served as Board President of the Northern California Solar Energy Association to help the Photovoltaic, Solar Thermal and Passive Solar markets bring education to the consumer for new market penetration. Claudia has been granted one utility patent and currently has a few more pending in the mounting field. Claudia is certified NABCEP PV with entry level of knowledge and is an Adjunct Professor at Diablo Valley College and sits on the Advisory Board of Solar Universe Network. Claudia held a seat on the Intersolar North America Conference Committee 2009 as she did in 2008. Claudia Wentworth has been active in the solar industry for over ten years and the green building and construction industry for more than twenty.

Interested in helping behind the scenes with management of NorCal Solar, specifically as a member of the Board of Directors? Then this page is for you! If you have a philanthropic heart, time, energy, and good people skills, and you think you’d like to be considered for the board, please read on.

First, thank you for your interest in NorCal Solar! We want to get to know you a little better to determine if you are a good fit for us, and us for you, so please take some time to read this introductory letter and then contact our Nominating Committee for the candidate questionnaire that we require of all prospective board members.

We have an annual board election (not always in the same month each year). For each election, the Nominating Committee recommends a slate of candidates for the ballot. If a potential candidate is not selected for recommendation by the Nominating Committee, the candidate may still run in the election but without the formal recommendation of the Committee.

 If the deadline for the year’s election has passed and you received the Committee’s recommendation, we will keep you on a list for board appointment as openings become available. In the meantime we welcome your involvement in any of our ongoing activities.

 In the election, the members of NorCal Solar are the voters. We introduce the “winners” - the new Board members - at the annual membership meeting, which follows the voting period.

 We are a working Board (not just an advisory board). To give you a better sense of what you are potentially committing to, here are the basic requirements for Board members:

- Paid membership in NorCal Solar

- Paid membership in our “parent” organization, the American Solar Energy Society

- A three-year term

- Attendance at most or all monthly Board meetings (by phone or in person)

- Attendance at annual meetings and other events

- Time commitment:

* average 1-4 hours per week for reading and responding to emails, reviewing documents, prepping for and attending monthly Board meetings

* additional 1-2 hours per week for committee work (add a bit more time for Board officers, a lot more time for the President)

- Leading or assisting with fundraising efforts (there’s room for creativity)

- Contributing to fun and productive teamwork and to a great organization!

If this sounds reasonable, please contact us for a questionnaire. The Nominating Committee will review your responses and set up a time to either talk with you by phone or to meet in person. Some of the other board members may want to meet you as well.

Thanks again for your interest!

 Elaine Hebert and Jamie Cutlip

NorCal Solar Nominating Committee

c/o This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 Current Board of Directors

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NorCal Solar consumer education efforts are made possible through contributions from our entire community -- our individual, organizational, and business members, our staff, our talented volunteers, and a number of solar professionals across northern California. Please consider supporting NorCal Solar's efforts. We gratefully accept financial donations from individuals and businesses, and we offer numerous opportunities for sponsorships and sponsor recognition. Please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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