Inaugural Walt Ratterman Award Presented to Wade Andrews of Namasté Solar

On June 13th, 2011, The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) presented the first annual Walt Ratterman Award for Creative Community Energy to Wade Andrews, co-owner and Solar PV Installation Project Leader of Namasté Solar. Wade won the award for his work in 2010 leading the domestic PV project on the Cal-Wood Education Center in Colorado.

The Walt Ratterman Award is presented each year to the NABCEP certificant who does the most creative public service oriented renewable energy project. Installations can be domestic or offshore and they must be performed at no charge for a not-for-profit or charitable organization.

The 8.28-kW PV system at Cal-Wood includes 36 SunPower 230 Watt modules and is expected to produce an estimated 11,799 kWh of electricity. The system is also expected to save the education center about $1,251 per year (at $0.106 per kWh) and reduce CO2 emissions by about 24,164 pounds.

The PV system will allow Cal-Wood to further its mission to offer a unique outdoor educational experience for youth and adults. The center strives to give its visitors a greater appreciation for nature, offer environmental education, and provide unique educational opportunities. Visitors now have the unique opportunity to learn about solar PV and its advantages. Many of the school students who visit Cal-Wood are from the city of Denver with limited outdoor experience and many are unaware of renewable energy and its benefits. 

Each year, Namasté Solar donates one percent of its revenue to help non-profit organizations install PV systems. According to Namasté’s nomination, Wade Andrews, a Colorado native, joined Namaste Solar in 2008 and brought his unique environmental vision to the company. Wade has always been dedicated to the well-being of his local community and environment. One of his favorite roles in the company is taking part in the installation of donation projects, making him an ideal candidate for the award.

The annual Walt Ratterman Award for Creative Community Energy was created by NABCEP to recognize and honor Walt Ratterman, one of NABCEP’s first certificants. Walt installed solar projects and participated in humanitarian relief efforts in many diverse developing countries. In 2010, he was killed while working in Haiti when the devastating earthquake struck. During his extensive work, documented in the video below, Watterman channeled his efforts into the non-profit company he co-founded, SunEnergy Power International (SunEPI).

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Since his death, the company is no longer an active organization, although the website still documents past projects and serves as a portal for supporting the Solar Energy International (SEI) Walt Ratterman Scholarship Fund. 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.”

During the award ceremony, Wade Andrews commended Walt for his inspirational work, “Walt Ratterman is an inspiration to me and I look forward in the future to doing work further afield in honor of Walt.” Ezra Auerbach, Executive Director of NABCEP, hopes the award will inspire others to make a difference in their own community by helping their less fortunate neighbors. 

Don Warfield, chairperson of NABCEP, said that he hopes the presentation of the first award will bring more awareness to the program. “We hope the award will encourage more people to submit nominations next year for projects both here and abroad,” he said.

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