Adrian Manygoats is on a mission to help Navajo communities, many of which live under the poverty line and lack electricity. So she’s installing rooftop solar panels — for free.

 In the Navajo Nation — the country’s largest Indian Reservation that sprawls across parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah — about 38 percent of homes are off the electric grid. Eagle Energy, a nonprofit dedicated to empowering disenfranchised people in this community, is trying to change that by installing or distributing solar-powered light kits across the reservation.

“One of the most shocking things about the Navajo Nation,” says Julia Alvarez, executive director of Eagle Energy, “is the extreme poverty despite the fact that it is right here in the south-central United States.”

Nearly half of the Navajo Nation lives below the federal poverty line. Years of mistreatment by the U.S. government, forced (and ineffective) integration and post-war uranium mining that lasted till the late 1980s marginalized and deteriorated the health of the population.

Today, those who live off the grid often rely on kerosene lanterns for indoor light. The cost of kerosene consumes a large portion of household budgets, while the smoke — released directly into the indoor environment — contributes to a high incidence of respiratory problems, which are exacerbated by the extreme temperature shifts between day and night in the desert climate (as evening descends, homes are shuttered against the cold, preventing ventilation).

Eagle Energy, partnering with other nonprofits, hopes to reach all of the estimated 18,000 un-electrified homes in the Navajo Nation, with its eventual goal of making these residences energy independent. It’s an ambitious mission, but every installation brings this extremely motivated group one step closer.

“We’re still a great people,” says Manygoats. “We’re still here. And I think that matters.”

Responses to "How one Navajo woman is spreading the power of the sun (Video)"

  1. Anonymous says:

    What a beautiful way to give back. It's a shame that our country doesn't do more, but at least some are trying!!

  2. Right On! It matters for sure. I want to go Solar as well but the EL companies still want their share.

  3. Anonymous says:


  4. Anonymous says:

    what a blessing you are to many and an inspiration to all

  5. Great story and a blessing for sure.

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