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Solar Energy International Tribute to Heather Andrews, a True Solar Sister

Posted by: april
February 12, 2012

April E. ClarkBy April E. Clark, Marketing Communications Coordinator

This week, the solar industry lost a champion. And I, along with Solar Energy International staff, lost a friend.

Heather Andrews, 1978-2012Heather Andrews wasn't just the kind of person you meet and forget. She had a warm personality and a brightness about her that was special, different. It was ingrained in her attitude - sharp, witty, clever, sweet, level-headed, fun, aware, understanding, evolving. She was proud to be a SEI alumna and solar champion and loved to tell the world about PV. 

I originally became acquainted with Heather virtually, through the solar industry's social media community called the Solar Tribe (#solartribe for the social media geeks like me and Heather who appreciate the power of a hashtag). This was a tribe armed with Twitter handles (Heather's is @pvaddict) and Facebook pages. Like all of us who use social media to communicate, Heather saw that social media was more than just a way to be social. It's a way to make social change like no other avenue we've seen. And it's only going to get better.  Heather and I had been at many of the same solar industry events - TweetUps over beers, opening receptions with egg rolls, and themed events with mechanical bulls - but I always wanted to meet the woman behind the @pvaddict namesake. She was true to her handle.

When we finally met in person, at SEI's PV Lab in Paonia, Colorado, it was if I were seeing an old friend again. When I went to shake Heather's hand, a hug seemed so much more appropriate. It was as if we had been friends all along - and most people who met her instantly felt that connection, too. In October, we shared one of those hugs, and a few moments to snap a pic, at Solar Power International in Dallas. That would be our last meeting. No one ever knows.

Through social media, Heather was able to shout her passion about solar from the virtual rooftops to colleagues, friends, and family. She shared industry news and was a proponent of safe, professional practices in solar installations. Heather was a PV instructor for Electrical JATC of Southern Nevada and had recently trained with SEI last July during our PV201 lab workshop in Paonia as part of the U.S. Dept. of Energy's Train-the-Trainers program. A licensed electrician, Heather was a proud member of IBEW Local 357 in Las Vegas where she lived and passed away this Friday morning after complications from brain surgery related to a condition she battled called Chiari Malformation. She was an organ donor and inspiration to all who fight the tough battles of unrelenting surgeries with few medical answers. Heather was just 33.

In memory of Heather's passionate dedication to all that is solar, Solar Energy International is proud to establish the Heather Andrews Scholarship Fund in her name. This scholarship will support a female SEI student pursuing hands-on training at our Paonia Lab in the charming town nestled in the Rocky Mountains Heather held close to her heart.

Heather, may your spirit continue to shine. We will never forget you.

 

If you'd like to contribute to the Heather Andrews Scholarship Fund, click the Donate Now button and be sure to indicate "Heather Andrews Scholarship Fund" in the comments area on the donation payment page. Thank you.

For current information about applying for a scholarship please visit www.solarenergy.org/scholarships.


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