Native Americans Embrace the Sun
A New Way to Honor the Old Ways
This program has been made possible through the generous support of All Points North Foundation, The Turner Foundation, In Our Hands, the Carolyn Foundation and many individual contributors to Red Cloud Renewable.
Pine Ridge, South Dakota (July 30, 2020) – Red Cloud Renewable (RCR), Solar Energy International (SEI), and Remote Energy (RE) are pleased to announce our continued partnership with All Points North Foundation through the Tribal Train the Trainer (T4) Program for Solar Certification.
All Point North Foundation’s investment in T4 marked its inauguration in 2019. In Year One, T4 hosted nine Native American Trainers who successfully completed 160 hours of hands-on and theory-based solar PV training and mentoring, and ended with participants taking the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) PV Associates Exam.
Red Cloud Renewable hired two of last year’s T4 graduates as PV Instructors for Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center’s PV training program on Pine Ridge Reservation. RCR Executive Director Henry Red Cloud said, “Marie Kills Warrior and Silas Red Cloud are skilled and exceptionally dedicated solar instructors. We are looking forward to what the future brings for them and the good work they do sharing their solar electric knowledge with other Tribal members.”
Marie Kills Warrior is a member of the Oglala Lakota Tribe and holds the NABCEP Associate Credential. “I look forward to informing other districts on my reservation about Renewable Energy resources with an emphasis on PV,” she said.
Silas Red Cloud of Pine Ridge says that having been around Lakota Solar he saw that it was something great for his kids and for the future, which inspired him to seek certification. Silas stresses the importance of educating the public because many people are interested in a sustainable future, yet don’t know how to contribute towards it. For other Native Americans considering a career in solar, “it’s a great employment opportunity, is good for the environment, and ties into traditional teachings honoring the sun,” he says. Silas is excited to offer it on the homeland and encourages others to do so.
Through All Points North Foundation’s support, the T4 program will expand in Year Two, including formalizing the hands-on training center at Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center with the support of SEI and RE. Retired SEI Co-Founder Johnny Weiss is actively soliciting equipment donations from the industry to create a training center modeled after SEI’s campus in Paonia, Colorado. Additionally, RCR has selected two women and four men representing five tribes and receiving full scholarships for this year’s professional training program that will covers tuition, meals and lodging at the Sacred Earth Lodge, transportation, and the fee for the NABCEP PV Associate’s certification exam. In light of COVID-19 and its devastating impact on Pine Ridge Reservation, training is scheduled tentatively for Spring 2021, with timing dependent on how COVID-19 continues to evolve.
Trainees will learn about the design and installation of grid-tied and battery-based PV systems through classroom and hands-on training. Ongoing mentorship, skill development, and culturally adapted support will build a strong foundation for this program to serve more people in the coming years, bolstering the Native American community‘s solar workforce.
RCR will provide special attention to support solar development efforts on the Yankton Sioux Reservation. According to Henry Red Cloud, “Gail Huebbling and Chris French were two of the founders of the Solar Warrior Society at Yankton, and we want to support them and others there to explore the full spectrum of solar possibilities!”
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 from more than 50 tribes.
Since 1991, SEI is the premiere solar training organization in the U.S. with more than 76,000 alumni. More than 25% of all North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) have received their training through SEI. It has collaborated on solar projects with tribes for more than 15 years.
Remote Energy is a for-impact organization formed in 2017. Its team is dedicated to sharing experience, skills and expertise to empower individuals, communities, technicians and instructors in developing communities worldwide.
All Points North Foundation is one of the first and relatively few foundations in the U.S. to focus specifically on significantly advancing the penetration of photovoltaic (PV) solar through education, job training and the deployment of solar PV technologies. www.AllPointsNorthFoundation.org