Energy native americans solar

Published on October 19th, 2010 | by Zachary Shahan


Native Americans Going Solar, and Winning Awards

The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) announced the winners of its 2010 Innovation Awards recently. One of the well-deserving turned out to be Lakota Solar Enterprises, a renewable energy company owned entirely by Native Americans. Jeanne of CalFinder Solar reports:

Lakota Solar Enterprises, an extension of Native American non-profit group Trees, Water & People (TWP), won the prize for its Great Plains Tribal Communities initiative, the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center, or RCREC, an educational and training facility where individuals from indigenous tribes across America can get hands-on training in renewable energy technologies, specifically solar panels.

The RCREC is so far responsible for training 38 people from the Rosebud Sioux, Spirit Lake Dakota, and Cheyenne River (Sioux) tribes, who, after 10 days of classroom training, returned to their reservations equipped with Solar Technician I certificates and installed supplemental solar heating systems in the homes of tribal families.

The sun (or “wi”) is an integral part of Sioux, or Lakota, culture. So, it is no surprise they have taken to solar energy so quickly and enthusiastically. Congrats to Lakota Solar Enterprises on its IREC award.

The Lakota are not the only Native Americans going solar, however. In January, I wrote about the Jemez Pueblo tribe’s efforts in New Mexico to build the first utility-scale solar power plant on tribal land. The tribe is looking to generate $25 million from this project. Hopefully, other Native American tribes are looking into and capitalizing on solar energy as well.

Photo Credit: obbino via flickr under a CC license. More: solar energy facts.

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About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy since 2009. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the founder and director of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to and click on the relevant buttons.

One Response to Native Americans Going Solar, and Winning Awards

  1. Pingback: Green Business Blog Carnival #20 | Triple Pundit: People, Planet, Profit

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