by Lacey Gaechter, National Director
Using the knowledge and experience gained from their classes at the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center, three of our Native American trainees are currently employed by Bella Energy to install a 1 megawatt photovoltaic “Solar Garden” in the city of Lafayette, Colorado.
Recently, I went down to support our friends at Bella, see the job site for the first time, and touch base with our students, Landon, Kale, and Jeff. Well, the job site was impressive. A 1 megawatt solar array is huge! The project is called the Lafayette Solar Garden. Funded by Xcel Energy’s Solar*Rewards Community Program, owned by the City of Lafayette, and available for use by residents and business in the town (“subscribers”), this is a tremendous community resource.
, an exceptional Colorado solar company (whose CEO, Jim Welch, helped found TWP’s Tribal Renewable Energy Program
in 2002) is charged with the installation of the million watts of the Lafayette Solar Garden and subcontracted Lakota Solar Enterprises
to help. So it came to be that Kale Means, Landon Means, and Jeff King were given this ideal opportunity to put their green jobs skills to use.
The City of Lafayette and local businesses will utilize the majority of the electricity generated by this solar garden resulting in annual cost savings and the offset of 1,034 metric tons of carbon dioxide, the equivalent of planting 27,883 trees and placing 213 zero-emission passenger vehicles on the road.
All from the Northern Cheyenne Reservation in Montana, Jeff, Landon, and Kale have been chomping at the bit to start this gig and were excited to experience a new place – living in Erie, CO for the duration of the job. For my part, I was excited to see them after their fourth day on the job and see how things were going.
When I arrived, the guys were nowhere to be found. Jeff text me that they had to go to get haircuts. It was great to see the Bella folks and hear good things about the Lakota Solar Enterprises crew, but what the heck? I drove an hour to attend the dedication ceremony, and all Jeff, Kale, and Landon had to do was not leave. I called Jeff after the festivities were finished to find out what was so important about a haircut. Well, it turns out that it was Kale’s birthday and he wanted a haircut for his own celebration. Happy birthday Kale!
It’s so great to see our friends thriving in this new environment and on the job. Thanks to Bella and the City of Lafayette for this opportunity, and thanks to Landon, Kale, and Jeff for being such hard working, talented, and now well-manicured guys.
(Photos courtesy of Jon Becker, TWP Board President)
We are pleased to announce the November 1 opening of our new photography exhibition, Illuminating Opportunity: A photo exhibit for social good, an exploration of our solar energy program through the eyes of Fort Collins-based photographer Darren Mahuron. The photo exhibit will be open to the public November 1 from 6-9pm at the Community Creative Center located at 200 Mathews Street in Old Town Fort Collins.
The exhibit will take you to the heart of rural Honduras, where we work with local communities to distribute small-scale, clean energy technologies such as solar lighting and solar phone chargers. Darren Mahuron’s unique photos highlight the rich Honduran culture while showcasing TWP’s important efforts to light the homes of families living without electricity.
In Honduras alone, 2.3 million people still have no access to electricity. Families rely on kerosene lamps and candles that are expensive and produce high levels of indoor air pollution. Our solar products deliver immediate, triple-bottom line returns to the poorest communities in the Western Hemisphere. Reducing dependency on kerosene and switching over to solar lighting systems brings staggering social, environmental, and economic returns.
“We envision a world where every person, down to the last mile or ‘base of the pyramid,’ has access to clean energy in an affordable manner.” said Sebastian Africano, International Director.
Read more about the exhibit in today’s Coloradoan!
About this photo
A member of the Lenca Women’s Ceramics Cooperative in rural Marcala, Honduras holds up a piece of Ocote candle that she uses when she needs light after the sun sets on her village.
In Central America, 7 million people live without any access to electricity. Worldwide, more than 1.5 billion people have no electricity. These energy sources are both expensive and have a negative impact on both human health and the natural environment.
Our Solar Energy Program is helping to bring clean energy to local communities throughout Central America by providing access to affordable solar powered solutions.
When you go solar with SolarCity you will also help Native American families heat their homes with solar energy!
Trees, Water & People (TWP) and Benny Mosiman, an Energy Consultant with SolarCity (and a former intern at TWP), are combining forces to help homeowners lower their electricity costs with solar and help fund the Solar Energy and Tribal Renewable Energy Programs. When you purchase a system through Benny and you mention Trees, Water & People, a $300 donation will be made to help fund these important programs.
The choice to get your electricity from the sun will not only benefit our environment and your wallet but will also help families in Central America and on Native American Reservations all across this country get their power from clean, renewable resources.
SolarCity installs solar systems with no up-front costs and sells the electricity back to the homeowner at a rate comparable to what you pay for electricity now, often times for a lower cost! If you would like to set up a free site visit or just want to chat about your options for solar and see if it is a right fit for you please contact Benny at 720-387-5482 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to mentions Trees, Water & People!
About this photo
Local genius, Santos Rodrigo Opalaca, from western La Paz, Honduras, shows us how he reconfigured his radio to charge off one of our solar panels using two cell phone batteries. Innovation at its finest!
Learn more about how we are bringing solar energy to communities in Latin America at our website.
About this photo
A woman from the Lenca Women’s Ceramics Cooperative in rural La Paz, Honduras shows off her solar powered LED light from our Cleantech Program.
This group of talented women artisans is responsible for some of the most remarkable ceramic work in Honduras, and have replaced candlelight and smoky ‘Ocote’ with solar lights, helping them work during the dark evening hours so they can get products to craft markets throughout Honduras. The co-op is also an authorized distributor of our lights, helping other community members illuminate their homes with solar.
Learn more about our efforts to bring solar lighting to Central America at our website!
June 9-15, 2013
Trees, Water & People, Lakota Solar Enterprises, and Solar Energy International are working together to bring you a training on sustainable agriculture. Key components of the training will be instruction in installing a solar powered water pump and drip irrigation system to water your garden. Hands-on instruction takes place at the Solar Warrior Farm on the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center in Pine Ridge, South Dakota. The training costs $850 per student, which includes instruction, food, and lodging for the duration of the course. For more information, download our registration form.
We are also very happy to be able to offer three scholarships for this training, with preference given to veterans scholarship application. If you are a interested in receiving a scholarship, please download our scholarship application.
APPLICATION DUE JUNE 3, 2013