Burlington Free Press: How Kenyans Helped Vermonters Connect with Sun Power
The spasm of violence that followed Kenya’s 2008 elections led a couple of young computer devotees there to write software that could map reports of both violence and peace efforts. These dispatches could be submitted by regular people from throughout the country, mostly through mobile phones. It’s called ushahidi, which means ‘testimony’ in Swahili.
After 45,000 Kenyans suddenly used this remarkable innovation, others found it could be used in all manner of applications around the world. This open-sourced tool was used here in Vermont after Irene to map disaster damage and coordinate recovery efforts. Over 1,000 reports were submitted by everyday Vermonters via web, email, twitter and text messages.
That’s when SunCommon saw that ushahidi could connect Vermonters interested in renewable energy. As Vermont’s largest residential solar business, we launched a new mapping project this week. SunCommon plotted our 430 solar homes on an online map to show how common solar has become in Vermont.