Carol Weis Wins 2018 NABCEP Walt Ratterman Award
The annual Walt Ratterman Award for Creative Community Energy was created to recognize and honor Walt Ratterman, one of NABCEP’s first Certificants, who was killed while working in Haiti when the devastating earthquake struck. Walt’s astonishing renewable energy work among some of the world’s most needy was truly inspirational. Walt channeled his efforts into the non-profit company he co-founded, Sun Energy Power International. The company’s mission was “to promote an increased quality of life in remote, rural regions of the world through the use of renewable energy”.
The Walt Ratterman Award is presented to the NABCEP certificant who does the most creative public service oriented renewable energy project of the year. Considerations such as legacy, local labor and material content, on-the-job-training, and project sustainability help guide the award committee.
Remote Energy Co-Founder, Carol Weis won the 2018 award for her outstanding work in international renewable energy education. Carol worked closely with Walt Ratterman for many years. The following is her reflection on winning the award.
Receiving the Walt Ratterman Award is an honor and is very timely - as Walt has been on my mind a lot this year. Walt was my mentor and was the person who introduced me to Haiti. He was someone with whom I was brainstorming a lot with about how to bring high quality solar technical training and how to increase the solar workforce capacity in areas of the world needing sustainable energy the most.
This year marks my 10th year of working in Haiti after teaching with Walt there in 2009. It is also the year that I am helping to launch a new National Solar Training Center in Port-au-Prince as part of a Solar Electric Light Fund project. I think Walt would be proud of this high level 40-week hands-on solar training program, located in the center of Port au Prince, which is part of an existing polytechnic school which trains electricians – and now also trains solar electricians. I think he would approve that the curriculum and instructor notes have been completely translated into French, and that the lead professor – teaching in Creole – is a Haitian trainer that Walt first met during the 2009 class. In fact, many of the original people from that first class have been instrumental in pushing this vision of solar training forward in Haiti.
NABCEP was gracious enough to allow me to exchange the plane and lodging costs allocated for receiving this award into a cash donation to support one of Remote Energy’s many underfunded projects - a pilot class to train young women from Niger and Benin about small DC systems. Many others attending the conference also made additional donations towards this project.
I believe directing all of these donations to this new educational project is the best way to honor Walt’s life work – and I am truly thankful for everyone’s generosity. It also will be a big step for me personally as it will be the first class I will be teaching in French. Merci beaucoup pour tout Walt!