Director of Business Development, First Solar


James Cook

James F. Cook is a Regional Director of Business Development at First Solar (and prior to that for start-up OptiSolar). He leads utility scale solar development in the western United States and in Mexico for the largest US-based solar manufacturer. For over ten years, he has lead the development of numerous projects in several states. These projects include the 550 megawatt (MW) Topaz Solar Farm in San Luis Obispo, the 150 MW Copper Mountain 2 project in Boulder City, Nevada, the 139MW Campo Verde Solar Project in Imperial County, California and the 60MW North Star project in Fresno County, California – all of which are fully operational today.

James is a former commissioner and three time Chair of the Palo Alto Utilities Advisory Commission; he served on the commission from 2010 to 2017. James lives in Palo Alto with his wife and son. He served on active duty in the United States Marine Corps from 1992 through 1996, earned a MBA from the full time Berkeley MBA program as well as an AB from Harvard College. Successfully completing a technical climb of Grand Teton was a great test, but he credits being a husband and father as his highest challenge.

Alumni Panel: Which Energy Boom Will Come Next?

Moderated by Severin Borenstein, E.T. Grether Professor of Business Administration and Public Policy, and Research Associate, Energy Institute at Haas

The Trump administration is throwing increasing support behind coal and nuclear power, while the fracking revolution holds down oil and natural gas prices driving-up their consumption, and solar and wind power costs continue to decline. Energy storage is starting to look like it could become competitive--both on the grid and in electric vehicles. How should we expect the energy mix to evolve over the next decade (and beyond)? Professor Severin Borenstein, who teaches Energy & Environmental Markets, will discuss the question with Berkeley Haas alumni working across the energy industries.