Donors Turn to Schatz Lab to Help Meet World’s Energy Needs

Apr, 2017

April 3, 2017—The Schatz Energy Research Center (SERC) at Humboldt State University has been carrying out cutting-edge research and educating future energy leaders for over 25 years. Recently, SERC has made great strides toward expanding its facility with three major gifts from faculty, alumni, and community members—gifts that will be critical in helping SERC address climate change through its research of clean energy technologies.

Peter Lehman, professor emeritus and founding director of SERC, made an initial gift of $10,000. That gift was matched by $10,000 from entrepreneur and SERC advisory board member David Katz. HSU alumnus Jack West and his wife Christina Manansala West, also SERC advisory board members and solar industry entrepreneurs, then joined Lehman and Katz with a gift of $20,000.

These contributions will help the organization expand its 6,600 square foot lab and office building with a new addition. The SERC “West Wing” will add eight staff and faculty workstations, six student workstations, a conference room, and two private offices for new faculty. The SERC Building Fund was established to help support the new addition.

Expanding the number of on-site student workstations through the SERC Building Fund is vital to the lab’s mission of educating future energy leaders, says Prof. Lehman. “It is important to have students working alongside faculty. They bring energy and passion and play vital roles in completing cutting edge projects.”

SERC’s tradition of educating students and bringing clean energy to local and international communities is a mission worth supporting, says Katz, who’s been in the solar industry for 35 years. “SERC is doing fantastic work to address climate change. They’re educating talented students passionate about clean energy and improving the lives of people in the developing world.”

SERC continues to expand its clean energy footprint across the globe by helping communities in Africa and Asia integrate clean, affordable lighting systems. Expanding SERC’s facility will not only enhance its capacity to implement clean energy projects internationally, it will strengthen its ability to conduct research locally while educating students like Steve Shoemaker, the Blue Lake Rancheria Clean Energy Fellow.

Currently, Shoemaker is working on the Shelter Cove micro-grid feasibility project to help that isolated Humboldt County community run on clean energy. “Studying with SERC has allowed me to work on a solar economic analysis with some of the most experienced renewable energy professionals out there. I fully intend to use my degree to help guide our transition to a more renewable electric grid.”

“The world needs SERC more than ever. We need clean and renewable energy. We’re trying to protect our planet, the only one we have. This is a time to redouble our efforts,” says the Professor Lehman.

If you’d like to support students and faculty who are creating energy solutions around the globe, you can give to the SERC Building Fund here. To learn more about the Schatz Energy Research Center, visit their website at To learn about other ways to support HSU students, visit, email the Office of Philanthropy at, or call 707-826-5200.