Jack West (inventor)

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Jack West is CTO of Ojjo, Inc and Principal Inventor at Glissphonic. He was, until February 2017, the CTO of Zep Solar, a manufacturer of solar photovoltaic (PV) mounting and grounding equipment based in San Rafael, California. West is also an inventor, entrepreneur, and musician. He is most known for inventing rail-free mounting technology and leading Zep Solar's commercialization of that technology.[1] Zep Solar was acquired by SolarCity in 2013,[2] and SolarCity was acquired by Tesla in 2016.[3] West founded Zep Solar in 2009 along with Christina Manansala and Daniel Flanigan[4] and helped to grow the company into the market leader in residential solar mounting equipment.[5] In 2014, one in three residential solar systems installed in the United States contained Zep Solar technology.[2] While at SolarCity, and subsequently at Tesla, West led the development of the product that became known as the Tesla Solar Roof.[6] West also invented a new type of pick for guitar, known as a fingernail pick, which is currently being manufactured and sold by Tiptonic.


In the early '90s, prior to founding Zep Solar, West launched the photovoltaic division of Light Energy Systems, a PV design and contracting firm that designed and installed the San Francisco Bay Area's first grid-tied PV system[7] The company was later acquired by Acro.[8] In 2000, West and Manansala co-founded High Sun Engineering, one of the first engineering consultancies focused on PV system design.[9] West was inspired as a college student to end reliance on fossil fuels and served in 1990 as co-director of the Campus Center for Appropriate Technology, a student-run sustainability organization at Humboldt State University.

Music career[edit]

West is also an accomplished jazz guitarist, having released five albums[10] with his band Jack West & Curvature and one solo album.[11] Acoustic Guitar Magazine awarded Jack West's fourth album, As We Know It, top honors in its self-released CD competition in 2000.[12] West's music is frequently used as segue music for NPR programming[13] and he was a winner of the John Lennon Songwriting Contest in 2004 for his composition, “This Life May be Monitored for Quality Assurance”.[14]


  1. ^ "Schatz Energy Research Center - Sustainable Futures Speaker Series". schatzlab.org.
  2. ^ a b "SolarCity Acquires Zep Solar for $158 Million". greentechmedia.com.
  3. ^ "It's official: Tesla's acquisition of SolarCity has closed". www.businessinsider.com. Retrieved 25 July 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ "ZEPHYR - Bureau van Dijk". bvdinfo.com.
  5. ^ Tyler Crowe (22 December 2013). "SolarCity's Greatest Move Was the One You Didn't Hear About". fool.com.
  6. ^ "Inside "Steel Pulse," The Project That Became Elon Musk's Solar Roof". www.fastcompany.com. Retrieved 25 July 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ "Products & Services for Renewable or Alternate Energy". discoversolarenergy.com.
  8. ^ Robert van de Walle. "Acro Energy". lightenergysystems.blogspot.com.
  9. ^ "Jack West: Executive Profile & Biography - Businessweek". Businessweek.com.
  10. ^ http://aheadbehind.com/index
  11. ^ "Jack West @ All About Jazz". All About Jazz.
  12. ^ Prestianni, Sam. "Hear This". SF Weekly. Retrieved 1 March 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  13. ^ "All Things Considered for November 25, 2011". NPR.org. 25 November 2011.
  14. ^ "John Lennon Songwriting Contest". jlsc.com. Retrieved 1 March 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)