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Walt Ratterman Scholarship Fund

Tribute to a Solar Hero

Walt Ratterman in Pakistan
Walt in Pakistan
SEI is deeply saddened by the loss of Walt Ratterman, who perished in the devastating Jan. 12, 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Walt was an instructor, alumni, supporter and friend of SEI.  He was also an incredibly dedicated one-of-a-kind individual who touched thousands of people’s lives around the world.  Walt was in Haiti working on solar projects for health clinics with the organization that he cofounded, SunEnergy Power International (SunEPI).  SunEPI works around the world to improve people’s quality of life with renewable energy technologies in remote, rural areas. 

Some of Walt’s work can be seen in Adrian Belic’s award winning film “Beyond the Call” which documents Knightsbridge International, a humanitarian and medical aid organization to which Walt belonged that worked in some of the most dangerous places in the world.

Walt Ratterman in the Ecuadoran Amazon
Walt in Burundi
Walt and his Knightsbridge buddies were described as a cross between Indiana Jones and Mother Theresa, and there is no better way to describe Walt.  Fear was not a word in his vocabulary, and he had a heart of gold.  And that is probably an understatement on both accounts.  Whether it was crossing the border into Burma in the middle of the night with solar equipment to train Burmese medical technicians, or wearing a burqa in Afghanistan under the Taliban to see what it was like to be a woman in that country, Walt’s quest for knowledge and his desire to help those in need was extraordinary.  If there were people in need, and Walt could help, it didn’t matter their geographic, political or religious affiliation, he would be there.  To Walt, humanitarian aid knew no boundaries.

Walt brought solar training and humanitarian aid to Rwanda, Uganda, Afghanistan, Benin, Burundi, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Palestine, the Philippines, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, Tibet, Ecuador, Peru, Nicaragua, Haiti, and the list goes on.  And the list of NGO’s he worked with is almost as long as the countries he worked in.  The Solar Electric Light Fund, Green Empowerment, the Border Green Energy Team, Solar Energy International, Engineers without Borders, Light Up the World, and many others all benefited from Walt’s incredible knowledge and dedication.

SEI feels privileged to have known and worked with Walt over the years.  Although he is now gone from this Earth, his spirit lives on, in the many thousands of lives around the world that he has touched, and the remarkable work that people he has inspired will keep on doing. 

He was truly a solar hero.


Solar Energy International is proud to honor Walt by offering training scholarships to students who embody his spirit of adventure, hard work and dedication to the people of the developing world. 

If you'd like to contribute to the Walt Ratterman Scholarship Fund, click the Donate Now! button and be sure to indicate "Walt Ratterman Scholarship Fund" in the comments area on the donation payment page 


If you are interested in applying for Walt Ratterman/International Student Scholarship, please click here to fill out the application.  Please read about the scholarship fund prior to filling out application, and be sure to thoroughly and accurately read and respond to all questions on the application.