Henry Red Cloud, of Pine Ridge, is providing a clean, sustainable future to Native Americans across America
PINE RIDGE, S.D.– Henry Red Cloud, Lakota Elder, founded his 100 percent Native-American operated non-profit, Lakota Solar Enterprises (LSE), in 2006, and established the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center in 2008. He calls himself a “solar warrior.” But his work expands far beyond the sun.
Henry’s mission is to create sustainable housing while combating some of the greatest global issues to date – climate change and affordable housing.
Energy sovereignty is also another aspect Henry is attempting to provide to communities like Pine Ridge.
“Currently, I’m working with 50 of the federally recognized tribes on their residential solar applications,” says Henry. “We’re a manufacturer of the solar energy furnace. We offer the technical support for the solar water heating as well as the energy grid direct and battery-based solar system.”
In addition to his solar projects, LSE and Henry provide wind turbine installation and sustainable housing in the form of straw bales, compressed Earth blocks and, his current venture, foam crete.
Henry has created 13 new jobs through his training program. He likes to remind his trainees that through renewable energy it is possible to retain cultural roots and the roots to Mother Earth.
To date, 500 homes have implemented his off-grid solar furnace and have reduced their utility costs by up to 30 percent. In Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, the Environmental Protection Agency says 25 percent of residents’ incomes go towards utility costs.
Henry wants to remind everyone that the power lies in the hands of every person. He is pushing for net-metering legislation in South Dakota.
“What we need to do at the legislative level is net-metering. We need that to happen here to support our farmers, ranchers and everyone here,” he said. “We forgot that we are the power. Let’s take the sixties era, when there were human rights and women’s rights as well. Who changed that? Our parents did.”
Henry is recognized around the world for his work.
Some of his awards include: Solve Fellow from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2018), Champion of Change for Solar Deployment from the White House (2014), and the World Energy Globe Award (2012).