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Basking in the sun

image L-R: Twin brothers, Eric and Derrick Hoffman own and operate HE Solar LLC

AUSTIN - By the age of 14, twin brothers, Eric and Derrick Hoffman were working summers doing electrical work with their father, gaining apprenticeship hours. When they were 18, they had both acquired enough hours to take their journeyman’s exam and by age 19, they had their journeymen licenses. With only four years to go to acquire the coveted Master Electrician license, the boys continued on their path, following in their dad’s footsteps.



     “We grew up in the industry.  My dad is a master electrician and he put us to work during the summers and in high school and that’s where we started accumulating hours as an apprentice.  We were able to become journeymen at a pretty young age and just continued with it.  We started building a craft and we both really enjoy it.
     “We both got our bachelor degrees in construction science.  We studied sustainability and it was a match with our electrical background,” said Eric Hoffman, co-owner of HE Solar LLC.
     While attending Texas State University, the two young men continued on their way while earning their Bachelor of Science degrees in Industrial Technology with a specialization in construction.  As soon as they had their four unrestricted journeymen years behind them, they took their test and became master electricians. 
    “Derrick and I were 24 when we got our master electrician status.    We had someone from TDLR come by and tell us that we were the youngest in the state at the time, but that was eight years ago.”
    The next step was to utilize what they we were doing in college and move into the solar energy market.  Not just solar panels, but also energy storage and batteries.  In 2012, HE Solar was established.
    “We’re still mom and poppin’ it, but we are actually enjoying our size.  We currently have four employees.  We are able to get our jobs done because Derrick and I will put our tool belts on too.
    “We do a lot of residential, but we are seeing more and more of a shift in commercial as well.  It is definitely a segment in which a lot of business owners or landowners can take an advantage of if they have the high loads that are typical of air conditioners and things like that.
    “Solar energy is essentially the same energy technology but just has different ways of deploying it.  A solar panel is made of semi-conductors that when explosed to sunlight start creating energy flow within their cells and from there a current is formed.  We capture that energy and feed it into the grid.  It gets more complex than that.  The other key component in the system is an inverter, and what it does is takes the DC electricity from the solar panels and converts it into an alternating current, and that is what is used throughout our homes and businesses.  Alternating electricity is what is used throughout the United States. You have to switch between the two processes, but it’s an efficient process,” continues Eric.
    When not facing the elements of Mother Nature installing solar panels, the two brothers enjoy spending time with their children.  They each have two young children ranging in age from 4 to 1 year of age. 
    HE Solar is a solar power company offering premium solar energy systems for Austin and its surrounding communities.  -cmw

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Carol Wiatrek meditor@constructionnews.net