A New Way to Honor the Old Ways

Pine Ridge, South Dakota (August 15, 2019) – Red Cloud Renewable (RCR) and Solar Energy International (SEI) are pleased to announce selection of the first class of Native Americans to receive a full scholarship as part of the professional level Tribal Train the Trainer (T4) Program for Solar Certification.

Seven Native Americans, four men and three women from four tribes have accepted positions in the program each receiving a scholarship that covers their classes, travel, lodging, food, workbooks and testing costs. The cohort will learn through intensive classroom theory, and hands-on applications, the four primary SEI foundational classes in solar photovoltaics:

  1. PV 101 Solar Electric Design and Installation
  2. PV201L: Solar Electric Lab Week for Grid-Direct
  3. PV203: PV Fundamentals-Battery Based
  4. PV301L: Solar Training – Solar Electric Lab Week-Battery-Based

Students selected to participate are Marie Kills Warrior (Oglala), Lance Daniels (Muscogee Creek), Leo Bear (Shoshoni-Bannock), Leo Campbell (Rosebud), Cassandra Valandra (Rosebud), Gloria Red Cloud (Oglala) and Henry Red Cloud (Oglala).

Upon satisfactory completion of these for classes, trainees will test for their national NABCEP certification, an industry indicator of solar skills, knowledge and job readiness. The new Trainers will then co-teach with mentors, to a new cohort of Native Americans a PV 101 class at the end of October.

Trainees will learn about solar components, power flows, energy storage, applications in various settings, as well as installing and commissioning with a range of modules and inverters. Ongoing mentorship, resume and skill development, and culturally adapted support will also provide a strong foundation, with the goal to serve many more Trainees in the coming years.

Our shared vision is to provide energy access and independence for all Native Americans, with skilled and certified tribal members who are wanting to start solar businesses, and complete Native community projects. T4 Trainee Leo Campbell from the Rosebud Tribe sums it up “This is about building the core of solar awareness and leadership that will create a new generation of energy efficient native communities.”

The first two classes will take place at the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center at Pine Ridge, SD, with the final two classes being conducted at SEI’s lab facility in Paonia, CO.  These professional level courses will be taught by Henry Red Cloud, Carol Weis, and Brad Burkhartzmeyer, with help from other SEI trainers.  The non-profit In Our Hands is providing funding for a follow-up spring workshop “How to Start a Solar Business,” which will be taught by one of SEI’s Founders, Johnny Weiss at no cost to the new Trainers and other RCR students.

Red Cloud Renewable is a 501 (c)(3) federally approved non-profit organization headquartered on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.  Led by Lakota renewable energy leader, Henry Red Cloud, it has provided renewable energy training for thousands of tribal members for more than 50 tribes.

SEI has been the premiere solar training organization in the U.S. since 1991 with more than 70,000 students taking their courses.  More than 25% of all North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) have received their training through SEI. They have been working on solar projects with tribes for more than 15 years.


This program has been made possible through the generous support of All Points North Foundation, The Turner Foundation, In Our Hands, and many individual contributors to Red Cloud Renewable.

For more information about this program and to learn about upcoming opportunities, please contact: Richard Fox via email – [email protected], or phone 970-391-0148. www.redcloudrenewable.org



Contact: Deirdre Morrison

Solar Energy International

Phone: (970) 527-5046 x 106

Email: [email protected]