Today, the White House honored ten local heroes who are “Champions of Change” for their efforts to promote and expand solar deployment in the residential, commercial and industrial sectors.
As President Obama highlighted in his State of the Union address, the pace of solar deployment has picked up. Last year was a record-breaking year for new solar installations, and the amount of solar power installed in the U.S. has increased around eleven fold – from 1.2 gigawatts in 2008 to an estimated 13 gigawatts today, which is enough to power more than 2.2 million American homes. In fact, every four minutes another American home or business went solar. Whether it is deployed at the utility scale or by rural electric co-ops, businesses, multifamily housing, or new home builders, solar power is now a cost competitive option that offers financial and environmental benefits. This trend has yielded new economic opportunities for many Americans – job growth in the solar industry is now increasing by 20% each year.
President Obama is committed to continuing the momentum. In June 2013, the President launched a comprehensive Climate Action Plan to cut carbon pollution and advance the clean energy economy. As part of that Plan, the President set a goal to double solar, wind, and geothermal electricity generation by 2020 and to more than triple the onsite renewable energy production in federally assisted residential buildings.
Today, at the White House Solar Summit, individuals that are leading the charge across the country to create jobs and economic opportunity in solar power were honored. These leaders are driving policy changes at the local level to further advance solar deployment in the residential, commercial and industrial sectors.
The Champions of Change program was created as an opportunity for the White House to feature individuals doing extraordinary things to empower and inspire members of their communities. To learn more about the White House Champions of Change program, visit www.whitehouse.gov/champions.
About Henry Red Cloud, Founder & Sole Proprietor of Lakota Solar Enterprises, Pine Ridge, SD
Henry Red Cloud is the Founder and Sole Proprietor of Lakota Solar Enterprises (LSE) on Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. One of the first 100% Native American-owned and operated renewable energy companies in the nation, LSE employs tribal members to manufacture and install efficient solar air heating systems for Native American families living on reservations across the Great Plains. Additionally, Henry manages the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center (RCREC), a one-of-a-kind Native educational facility where tribes from around the U.S. receive hands-on green job training in renewable energy technology and sustainable building practices. Henry Red Cloud is providing Native Americans with “a new way to honor the old ways” through sustainable energy solutions that are environmentally sound, economically beneficial, and culturally appropriate.