Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Tribal Energy Sovereignty Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center (RCREC)

Free Solar Electric Training for Tribal Members - June 20-23, 2016 Pine Ridge, South Dakota Open House Celebration - June 24, 2016


Fort Collins, Colorado – Over the last year, Lakota Elder, Henry Red Cloud and his non-profit partner, Trees, Water & People (TWP), have been building a three bedroom Compressed Earth Block (CEB) house near the Village of Oglala on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. On June 24th the house will be complete and given away to Paul Shields and his family.

Paul has been working with Henry as part of Henry’s business Lakota Solar Enterprises for several years and is also the youngest son of Lakota activist, Leonard Peltier.

Throughout the last year, scores of Native and non-Native volunteers have been trained on how to build a house using compressed earth blocks. The home also features solar powered radiant floor heating and a solar hot air furnace. As a grand finale to this training project, Henry is installing a 4K solar electric system on Paul’s house.

As part of this celebration, the installation is being offered as a free four day solar electric workshop for up to 20 tribal members. (June 20th to 23rd).

On Friday, starting at 2:00, there will be an Open House at the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center, which will include a ribbon cutting ceremony at 3:00 officially turning the house over to Paul Shields and his family.

Renewable energy is increasingly provided the means for tribes to move towards energy independence. And it’s not just about large solar arrays and industrial wind farms costing millions of dollars and taking years to make happen. It is also about facility and family scale applications that educate, engage, and employ tribal members.

That’s why Henry and TWP created the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center (RCREC) on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. RCREC is a training and demonstration facility for tribal members to learn about small scale/big impact renewable energy and alternative building techniques.

Visitors to the Center will be able to see a variety of renewable energy and alternative building demonstrations, including three solar electric arrays, mobile power station, Solar Warrior Farm, solar water pumping the CEB office, two straw bale buildings and much more. The Sacred Earth Lodge provides dormitory style housing for up to 23 students or other guests and is equipped with a professional kitchen, dining area, classroom and social area as well as a professional laundry and bathroom/shower facilities.

This free solar workshop continues the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center's successful history of providing renewable energy training opportunities to help tribal communities meet their renewable energy goals.

For more information or to register for this training please visit

Henry Red Cloud’s efforts to bring sustainable energy solutions to Indian Country have earned both national and international recognition. In 2014, he was selected by the White House as a Champion of Change for Solar Deployment. He also received the 2014 Berea College Service Award and the Oglala Lakota Service Award. The American Solar Energy Society honored Henry with the prestigious 2013 Charles Greeley Abbot Award for his significant social contribution to the field of solar energy. In 2012, he traveled to Vienna to receive the World Energy Globe Award in both the “Youth” and overall “World” categories. Henry received the 2010 Annual Innovation Award from the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, as well as special recognition from the 2010 Nuclear Free Future Award. In 2009, Henry was named Innovative Idea Champion by the Corporation for Enterprise Development and shared his concept of renewable energy on tribal lands at the national 2009 Innovation Summit in Washington, D.C. Find out more about Henry at

Trees, Water & People

Trees, Water & People is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that has been developing technical and business development trainings for Native Americans since 2002. They have worked with more than 40 tribes across the Great Plains, the Southwest and far beyond. To learn more please visit

Solar Training Workshop Leaders

Johnny Weiss is the Special Projects Manager for Trees, Water & People. He is one of the world’s most experienced and well known renewable energy educators with more than 40 years’ experience in designing, and building solar, wind and water power systems. His career started off in the 1980’s teaching college-level vocational solar training courses. He then went on to cofound Solar Energy International (SEI) in 1991 and was its Executive Director for more than 20 years, helping establish SEI as a leader in solar education that has trained more than 35,000 students.

Jeff Tobe is the owner of Sunset Power Solutions, LLC and a certified and deeply experience solar electric educator and installer. Previously he was one of the lead instructors as well as a Program and Facility Manager for Solar Energy International for more than 13 years. He served as their Native American Program Manager for 10 of those years.


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