Oceti Sakowin Solve Fellowship


Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center

Bringing energy independence to tribal camps and communities

Team Lead

Henry Red Cloud

Solution Summary

The fight against fossil fuels and climate change is a challenge for all people. In indigenous communities, Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center (RCREC) is rising up to meet this challenge by teaching and establishing sustainable energy systems. The Center hosts workshops and hands-on training in renewable energy applications to educate Native Americans about practical and inexpensive ways they can use solar power and encourages trainees to take this knowledge back to their individual tribes.

In addition to education, RCREC’s workshops create green jobs for Pine Ridge residents and visiting trainees from other tribes. As tribal leaders learn how to incorporate sustainable technology into housing plans, employment training, and energy strategies, the impact will increase exponentially. RCREC’s facilities also include demonstration solar air furnaces, a solar electric system, straw bale home demonstration sites, a wind turbine, greenhouses and garden, buffalo from the Red Cloud herd, and windbreak and shade trees.

The Center’s mobile power stations generate power at two different levels: a 5x8 foot trailer creates approximately one kilowatt of solar power, and a hand-cart sized unit creates several hundred watts. RCREC has also expanded its solar electric installation capabilities, installing off-grid solar furnaces and developing mini-grids with the tribes themselves.

Market Opportunity

  • With high winds and solar power, there’s substantial renewable energy potential on Pine Ridge.

  • There are 562 federally recognized tribes who would benefit from these renewable energy applications.


  • Named a White House Champion of Change for Solar Deployment

  • Recipient of 2014 Berea College Service Award

  • Recipient of Oglala Lakota Service Award

  • Recipient of American Solar Energy Society’s 2013 Charles Greeley Abbot Award

  • Recipient of 2012 World Energy Globe Award

  • Recipient of 2010 Nuclear Free Future Award

Organization Goals

  • Provide Native Americans with the skills and confidence they need to acquire good green renewable energy jobs

  • Take on larger and more lucrative solar electric projects

  • Provide solar furnaces across the Oceti Sakowin

  • Scale up manufacturing and training programs

Existing Partnerships

  • Trees, Water & People, a nonprofit organization

  • Volunteer labor and donated materials

Partnership Goals

  • Funding to cover the costs of equipment, trainings, and installations

  • Compare best practices for training programs

  • Business development support for sustainable business modelling

  • Media visibility and exposure

  • Networking opportunities

Fellow Team

Organization Type: 



Pine Ridge, SD, USA

Project Stage: 


Working in: 

Great Plains, USA

Team Members: 




Solution Team:

  • Henry Red Cloud Executive Director, Red Cloud Renewable

Partner Challenges

Energy Independence for Tribal Communities

Fellow Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center, which brings energy independence to tribal camps and communities, received a $10,000 grant from Solve in 2018 for being selected as an Oceti Sakowin Solve Fellow.

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