tribal lands

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.

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.

Bringing the Power of Green to You

"Renewable Energy Warriors" graduate from a Solar PV training hosted at the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center. 

"Renewable Energy Warriors" graduate from a Solar PV training hosted at the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center. 

Lakota Solar Enterprises and Trees, Water & People offer job skills workshops in renewable energy, sustainable housing, Indigenous agriculture, entrepreneurship, and other topics that use Native approaches to caring for the environment and communities. Through our Energy Independence Initiative, we can work with your Tribe or local agencies to deliver Native-led training in:

  • Solar furnace installation
  • Solar hot water heat systems
  • Solar water pump systems for home and garden
  • Mobile renewable energy power stations (for hunting, pow-wows, ceremonies, camping)
  • Family-scale solar PV systems
  • Other affordable solar solutions for families and facilities

If you would like to learn more please contact Jamie Folsom, Trees, Water & People's National Director, at jamief@treeswaterpeople.org or call (970)484-3678 ext.23.