The Navajo people are the oldest ethnic group in the US and the Navajo Nation reservation is the largest in the country, spreading across Arizona, Utah and New Mexico. But about 38 percent of all homes in the vast Navajo Nation are completely off the electrical grid. Non-profit Eagle Energy is hoping to change that by installing and distributing solar power light kits to the Navajo people. NationSwell’s Thomas Shomaker hooked up with Eagle Energy to produce a beautiful documentary showing the project at work.

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Elephant Energy is a non-profit operating in Namibia, Africa. Founder Doug Vilsack took a trip to the Navajo reservation and realized that many of the same challenges present in parts of Africa were also issues for the people on the reservation. So Vilsack created Eagle Energy by partnering with local activists and Navajo chapters.

Related: Design Build Bluff Creates Inspiring Solar-Powered Green Home for Navajo Mother of Four

“One of the most shocking things about the Navajo Nation is the extreme poverty despite the fact that it is right here in the south-central United States,” says Julia Alvarez, director of Eagle Energy. Many people living off-grid must rely on kerosene lamps, which is costly and contributes to respiratory problems. Eagle Energy hopes to reach all 18,000 off-grid homes to eventually collaborate to create energy independence for the Navajo Nation.

+ Elephant Energy

Via NationSwell / Thomas Shomaker

+ Images via NationSwell documentary