New Off Grid Solar Furnace Design

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Our Solar Air Furnaces are designed with simplicity and affordability in mind. The main component of each unit is a 4x8 foot solar collector panel. The panel contains baffles to direct air flow and is backed by a specialized, heat-absorbing metal film. The baffles and absorber plate are covered by a sheet of special solar glass and surrounded by a metal frame. This collector panel is mounted and installed next to the south side of the house, where it absorbs heat from the sun.  A solar panel placed on the roof and tilted toward the sun provides power to a DC blower. The system is connected to the house by two air ducts: supply and return. Whenever the air inside the collector panel is warmer than the temperature set on the heating system's thermostat, a blower inside the system turns on and warm air is pushed into the house. The blower fan is the system's only moving part.

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Our Solar Furnaces reduce a family's monthly utility bill by 20-25 percent, leaving money for important items like food, medicine, and clothing. These supplemental solar air heating units are an inexpensive, simple to use, and environmentally sound way to bring comfort to families struggling to heat their homes during the bitter winter months.

Henry Red Cloud Featured in 'This Changes Everything' Film

Director Avi Lewis' new film, This Changes Everything, asks the question "What if confronting the climate crisis is the best chance we'll ever get to build a better world?" The film attempts to "re-imagine the vast challenge of climate change."

The documentary was inspired by award-winning author Naomi Klein’s critically acclaimed worldwide bestselling non-fiction book This Changes Everything. Published in 2014, it debuted at #5 on the New York Times list and at #1 in Canada. It was named to multiple Best of 2014 lists including the New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2014, and was shortlisted for the PEN Award for Non-Fiction.

The film presents seven powerful portraits of communities on the front lines, from Montana’s Powder River Basin to the Alberta Tar Sands, from the coast of South India to Beijing and beyond. 

This Changes Everything crew filming students at the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center. (Photo by Alexis Bonogofsky)

This Changes Everything crew filming students at the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center. (Photo by Alexis Bonogofsky)

We had the honor of welcoming the film crew to the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center in March of 2013 where they filmed one of our Solar PV workshops for Native Americans, which we hosted in partnership with Trees, Water & People and the National Wildlife Federation’s Tribal Lands Conservation Program

With Klein narrating, connecting the carbon in the air with the economic system that put it there, the film weaves together stories of struggle from the front lines of the climate war, culminating with the idea "that we can seize the existential crisis of climate change to transform our failed economic system into something radically better."

Naomi Klein writes, "But when I finally stopped looking away, traveled into the heart of the crisis, met people on the front lines, I discovered so much of what I thought I knew was wrong. And I began to wonder: what if human nature isn’t the problem? What if even greenhouse gases aren’t the problem? What if the real problem is a story, one we’ve been telling ourselves for 400 years."

For information about upcoming screenings of This Changes Everything please visit www.thefilm.thischangeseverything.org/screenings/

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Training the Next Generation of Solar Warriors

Students received hands-on training in Solar PV from a variety of renewable energy experts, including Henry Red Cloud, owner of Lakota Solar Enterprises.

Students received hands-on training in Solar PV from a variety of renewable energy experts, including Henry Red Cloud, owner of Lakota Solar Enterprises.

At the end of July, Lakota Solar Enterprises (LSE) owner Henry Red Cloud had the honor of teaching a Solar Energy Workshop that brought Native Americans from around the country to the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center on the Pine Ridge Reservation. The workshop explored basics of solar energy and culminated in a hands-on installation at the KILI Radio station, Voice of the Lakota Nation, where students expanded an already existing solar PV array.

Trent Williams (left), a member of the Tule River Tribe, gains hands-on experience with installing solar energy with one the pioneers of the field, Johnny Weiss (right).

Trent Williams (left), a member of the Tule River Tribe, gains hands-on experience with installing solar energy with one the pioneers of the field, Johnny Weiss (right).

On the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, home to the Oglala Lakota, over 40 percent of residents live without access to electricity. On Native American Reservations across the U.S., the Energy Information Administration estimates that 14 percent of households have no access to electricity, 10 times higher than the national average. Many tribes are looking to renewable energy as a way to provide reliable, clean energy to their tribal members.

Jeff Tobe shares his extensive solar energy knowledge with student Hazen Lamere, a member of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota Tribe.

Jeff Tobe shares his extensive solar energy knowledge with student Hazen Lamere, a member of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota Tribe.

LSE works with environmental nonprofit Trees, Water & People to help facilitate this transition to clean, renewable energy on tribal lands. By teaching Native Americans about alternative energy, such as solar PV, we are fostering a new generation of Solar Warriors that will be at the forefront of the tribal energy sovereignty movement. Power to the people!

To learn more about our work with Trees, Water & People please visit www.solarwarriors.org.

LSE in the News: "Lakota Man Brings Solar Power to the People"

Photo Credit: Red Cloud Indian School

Photo Credit: Red Cloud Indian School

Lakota Solar Enterprises was recently featured in Native Sun News for our work with students from the Red Cloud Indian School. Talli Nauman, Health and Environment editor, wrote:

Access to solar power – and control over rising utility bills – became dreams closer to every family’s reality in late June with the announcement of free skills training sessions in renewable energy installations provided by Lakota Solar Enterprises (LSE) and Dakota Rural Action.
During the last two weeks of summer school, which ended June 26, fourth- and fifth-graders had a field trip to LSE’s Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center and took part in the hands-on construction of photovoltaic panels that convert the sun’s rays into electricity.
The students from Red Cloud Indian School heard what LSE founder and Oglala Lakota tribal member Henry Red Cloud had to say: “We believe that reducing our dependence on fossil fuels is important. And on tribal lands, it is imperative."

To read the full article click here. Thank you Talli and Native Sun News for helping to spread the word about solar energy on tribal lands.

Upcoming Workshop: Solar Power For Beginning and Advanced Technicians

July 27-31, 2015 at the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center

Join Trees, Water & People and Lakota Solar Enterprises in this 5-day workshop demonstrating the latest technology in family and facility-scale solar energy solutions including solar water pumps, solar lighting, solar batteries, solar cookstoves, and mobile renewable energy stations. Students will get hands on experience expanding KILI Radio's solar PV system. Tuition is FREE.