Notes from the Field: Summer Update from Tribal Lands

Lakota Solar Enterprises (LSE) and Trees, Water & People (TWP) are continuing our efforts to help Native American communities move towards energy independence. This week we are conducting a solar air heater workshop and installing ten solar air heating systems for the Sisseton Wahpeton Tribe in northeast South Dakota. The training is teaching twelve tribal members about the uses of solar energy and how to install the energy saving solar heating systems. These solar heaters push the number of total systems the LSE/TWP team has built and installed for tribal families to more than 1,000 systems. Additionally, the vast majority of these systems made at the LSE manufacturing facility at the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.

Sisseton Wahpeton Tribe members installing a solar air heater during a training with Lakota Solar Enterprises and Trees, Water & People.


It is also the first major installation of our new Off-Grid Solar Heaters, which now operate solely on solar power! Heat is provided even if the grid goes off, as it is apt to do all across Native American Reservations. After this training is completed, the tribe has discussed getting 21 more systems and will use their trained workforce to get them installed.

Next, LSE will be taking down the old defunct wind turbine tower at the Kili Radio Station on Pine Ridge. Friends will install a new 10 kW Bergey wind turbine there in September, and a bit later Henry and the LSE crew will install another 6 kW solar electric array. A few years ago LSE installed a 5 kW solar electric array there, as well as one of their solar air heaters. Together, this should reduce the Radio stationed huge electric and heating bills by more than half.

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Henry Red Cloud (left) leads a solar panel installation training at the Kili Radio Station in 2013.

Training and demonstrations like these are possible because of you, our supporters! Your contribution helps build job skills for Native Americans while also reducing CO2 emissions. Please donate today to keep programs like these going into the future.

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Photo of the Week: Solar Warrior

Henry Red Cloud, TWP's partner and owner of Lakota Solar Enterprises, stands outside of the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.

Great report from the National Wildlife Federation: “The New Energy Future in Indian Country”

This report highlights many of the great renewable energy opportunities available to tribes around the United States. Thank you to the National Wildlife Federation for producing such a great report!

Henry Red Cloud Honored by Interstate Renewable Energy Council

Henry Red Cloud installs solar lighting in a tipi on his property at the Pine Ridge Reservation. Photo by Dan Bihn 2010.

Henry Red Cloud, proprietor of Lakota Solar Enterprises (LSE), will be honored by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) at their annual meeting in Los Angeles on October 11, 2010.  The 2010 IREC Annual Innovations Awards recognizes six different project categories.  Henry won the Clean Energy American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) Projects category for his efforts to bring green jobs and solar heating to tribes across the Great Plains with funding from the U.S. Department of Interior.

As the great-great grandson of Chief Red Cloud, Henry is a 21st century Lakota warrior, providing sustainable, economically beneficial, environmentally sound, and culturally appropriate energy solutions to Native Americans living on reservations.  He has spent over a decade experimenting with sustainable energy and housing alternatives, searching for affordable solutions that preserve resources and complement the values and traditions of tribal communities.  In 2006, Henry created Lakota Solar Enterprises, one of the first and only Native-owned and operated renewable energy businesses.  In 2008, he partnered with Colorado-based nonprofit Trees, Water & People (TWP) to establish the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center (RCREC), a one-of-a-kind educational facility where tribal members from around the nation can receive hands-on training from fellow Native American instructors. As Henry says, renewable energy is “a new way to honor the old ways.”

IREC ‘s annual Innovation Awards reflect upon their long-term goals of removing barriers to renewable energy use and giving credit to organizations and individuals, such as Henry Red Cloud, who work to reduce our dependence on short-term energy usage and provide alternative energy resources that factor in our future.  Each project reviewed by the judges has to demonstrate a positive impact that is replicable and innovative.  Award recipients will receive a commemorative plaque recognizing their achievement.  The winning entries will also be posted on the IREC website, featured in a national press release and listed in a brochure to be distributed to all attendees at the annual meeting.

To learn more about Henry Red Cloud and Lakota Solar Enterprises, visit To learn more about the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, visit To learn more about Trees, Water & People, visit

Solar Women Warriors Scholarship Fully-Funded

Kayenne, a participant in the Intro to Small Wind Turbines Workshop, learns how to use remote-reading software at the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center. (Photo by Dan Bihn)

Thanks to the generosity of many friends and supporters, we have fully-funded the Solar Women Warriors Scholarship!  With these funds, Trees, Water & People (TWP) will provide a $1,000 scholarship to a Native American woman interested in becoming a renewable energy leader in her community.  The scholarship will pay for a 10-day training session at the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center (RCREC) located on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.  This intensive workshop provides tribal members with Solar Technician I certification, allowing them to return to their reservations equipped with the expertise to begin assembling and installing solar heating systems within their own communities.

Training sessions at RCREC are led by Henry Red Cloud, owner of Lakota Solar Enterprises (LSE), and his experienced staff.  Henry teaches the step-by-step process of assembling solar air heating systems and offers hands-on practice installing the systems on tribal family homes.  Funds raised will pay for lodging at the RCREC dormitory, food, training, and certification.

Thank you again for your generous donations; together we are working to change the tribal energy approach!

Trees, Water & People and Lakota Solar Enterprises Attending the Greener Homes National Summit

Lakota Solar Enterprises Launches Website

Lakota Solar Enterprises (LSE), one of the first and only Native-owned and operated renewable energy businesses, is proud to announce the launch of its new website: Now, people anywhere can visit the Pine Ridge business online to purchase efficient solar air heating systems and learn about training opportunities.

Established in 2006 in partnership with Colorado nonprofit Trees, Water & People (TWP), Lakota Solar Enterprises is owned and operated by Henry Red Cloud, Oglala Lakota elder and great-great grandson of Chief Red Cloud. LSE offers home and facility-size renewable energy applications and installation training. To date, Henry and LSE have produced more than 700 innovative solar air heating systems that save tribal families 20-30% on their annual heating bills for over two decades. The efficient systems pay for themselves in just a few years. By harnessing the power of the sun to heat homes, tribes can improve their quality of life while protecting and honoring Mother Earth.

“Renewable energy is a new way to honor the old ways,” say Henry Red Cloud, Proprietor of Lakota Solar Enterprises.

LSE resides at the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center (RCREC) on Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. The unique educational facility offers intensive hands-on renewable energy training workshops from Native American instructors. More than 150 tribal members have received training and over 50 have earned their Solar Technician I or Wind Technician I certification. With their new knowledge and skills, they are ready to enter the growing workforce in renewable energy.

To learn more about Lakota Solar Enterprises, visit their new website at

Small Wind Turbine Workshop at RCREC

Participants in the Introduction to Small Wind Turbine Workshop, held in July 2010, took apart, and then rebuilt, this SkyStream 3.7 state-of-the-art 1.8kW grid-tied turbine located at the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center.

Thank you to our friend Dan Bihn for this wonderful video!  Visit Dan’s website for more info on his work.