It’s Time for More Open Source in Energy Access. Here’s Why.

When EnAccess published the Cicada project from Okra Solar, I asked the company’s co-founder and Chief Technology Officer, Damian Veling, if he had seen any advantages to open sourcing their hardware and firmware. He responded: “When you’re open sourcing something, you have to make sure that the code quality is good. Because it’s going to be representing the image of the company, you make sure every part of the code or the schematics has documentation so that other people can use it. Just getting to a level of decent documentation was certainly a challenge, and it was a cool outcome because it definitely influenced some internal processes around documentation. We see it as: If you’re going to open-source something, then follow these (more strict) processes. But then why don’t we just follow them internally? And then when some of these libraries that we’re building internally start to mature a bit, we can just straight away open-source them because they are already at the quality and the level that they should be when you’re open sourcing something. That was a really good learning experience for us, and had positive outcomes for the company as a whole.”