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The VIDA Blog

Public Radio Interview for Solarize Ghana

Monday, June 24, 2013

Listen to this clip of VIDA's Executive Director David Levine getting interviewed by Jerome McDonnell on Worldview about the Solarize Ghana Project on the best public radio station in the land WBEZ Chicago (600,000 listeners/week). We hope the added publicity will help us reach our ultimate project fundraising goal! http://m.soundcloud.com/wbez-worldview/road-tripping-across-ghana-for/


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Saying bon voyage to the SolBus on Summer Solstice

Saturday, June 22, 2013

(Carly Lettero text / David Lettero photos)

Yesterday was the summer solstice, which of course is the longest day of the year, so it seemed like an apropos day for the SolBus to arrive at the international shipping port in Bayonne, New Jersey.

International shipping regulations require vehicles to be empty when they ship, so as soon as Dave Lettero arrived at the port in Jersey, he had to unpack all of the Solarize Ghana gear into a shipping container.  Once the shipping container was locked and signed off on, Dave drove the empty bus to another huge parking lot and got in line with hundreds of other vehicles that are ready to make the trans-Atlantic voyage.  We are hoping there will be enough space on the next boat, leaving June 24, for the SolBus. We’ll keep you posted! 

SolBus at the international shipping port in Bayonne, New Jersey with the Statue of Liberty and the Freedom Tower in the background. 

Dave Lettero with the fully packed SolBus before he drive it to the port. 

At the port all of the Solarize Ghana gear was emptied into a shipping container through the back door of the bus. 

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Next Stop: Penn State

Friday, June 14, 2013

Thanks to everyone in Chicago who came out to visit the SolBus and support Solarize Ghana! We'll be adding more of your awesome photos to the Facebook photo album

The SolBus will be at Penn State on Saturday, June 16 for Father’s Day. Come visit us at Otto’s Pub and Brewery between 1:00 and 3:00. Then the bus will take a special trip to the Center for Sustainability at Penn State, Davis Lettero’s alma mater and the place he built his first off-grid solar array in 2004 (featured in this Penn State News Story in 2005). 

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Come Visit the SolBus in Illinois Tomorrow

Thursday, June 13, 2013

VIDA’s friends in Illinois are hosting a fundraiser for Solarize Ghana tomorrow night (Friday, June 14). We’d love to see you if you live in the area! Stop by for a drink and a tour of the SolBus. We’ll be at Tracy's Tavern in Clarendon Hills from 6:30 to 10:00 p.m. (401 55th Street).

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From Germany to Ghana - Solar Panels Are On Their Way!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Solar panels are the heart of our Solarize Ghana project. In a few months, the panels will be providing clean, renewable energy to six schools and four medical clinics in rural Ghana.

While VIDA has done a number of small-scale solar projects in West Africa, this is the first time we are shipped pallets of panels to West Africa. We’ve learned a lot about international shipping the past few months thanks to a few incredible, patient people and companies.

We are sending out a huge THANK YOU to SolarWorld Germany for donating all of the solar panels to the Solarize Ghana project and graciously storing the panels for us in Germany while we learned the ropes of international shipping. 


Thanks also to our friend Johannes Liem who spent an evening translating the SolarWorld donation agreement from German to English.

And thanks to James Lovell from DHL who patiently worked with us to make sure the panels would arrive safely in Ghana. And finally, thanks to our partner organization, Disaster Volunteers of Ghana for arranging the pick-up and storage of the panels once they get to Ghana.

In less than two months, the solar panels and all the energy they can harness will be in the hands of those who need them most.   

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Fun for the Whole Family - SolBus at the Discovery Museum in Reno Today

Sunday, June 09, 2013
Thanks to everyone who came out to support Solarize Ghana last night at St. James and this morning at the Midtown Market in Reno! The SolBus will be at the Discovery Museum in Reno from 2:00 to 5:00 today. Stop by with your whole family for kid-friendly solar demonstrations and tours of the SolBus.

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SolBus on Its Way to the Biggest Little City

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

(Carly Lettero / text and photos)

Dave and I spent last night packing the SolBus for the cross-country trip to the shipping port in Baltimore. We (mostly Dave) have been working on retrofitting the bus for nearly a year, and it was bittersweet to say goodbye this morning. I got up early to sip a latte at the bus table before heading to work, and then Dave left to drive to Reno—speaking of Reno, I’m so excited to tell you all about the great Solarize Ghana events we have planned. If you live anywhere nearby, we’d love to see you!

Check out the Solarize Ghana Reno Schedule: 

Thursday, June 6th            

  • When: 4:00 - 8:00 pm           
  • Where: Farmers' Market - We'll be parked near Great Basin Brewing Co., 846 Victorian Avenue (Sparks) 

Friday, June 7th             

  • When: 5:00 - 7:00 pm
  • Where: Happy Hour at Craft Wine & Beer, 22 Martin Street. (Reno)

Friday, June 7th 

  • When: 7:00 pm
  • Where: Across the Street from Reno Public House, 33 St Lawrence Avenue (Reno)

Saturday, June 8th           

Saturday, June 8th  
  • When: 7:00 pm - 11:00 pm             
  • Where: St. James Infirmary, 445 California Avenue (Reno) - This is a Solarize Ghana Fundraising Event! Support the project and receive a souvenir VIDA Bracelet that entitles you to many drink specials inside St. James Infirmary. 

Sunday, June 9th           

Sunday, June 9th

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First Stop: Last Thursday

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

We had a great time taking the SolBus to Portland for Last Thursday. Many thanks to old and new friends who helped us feel at home on Alberta Street. And special thanks to Handsome Dave and Wes Success of the Portland Zoo Bombers for putting on a bike derby, drawing a great crowd, and inspiring the most epic dance party the SolBus had ever seen.  

We added some great photos to the collage of people who support Solarize Ghana. We can’t wait to bring your smiling faces with us to West Africa!

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Last Thursday in Portland, Oregon: Come Visit the SolBus on May 30th

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Before the SolBus begins its journey to the east coast, it is taking one last trip in the Pacific Northwest. We’ll be at Last Thursday in Portland, Oregon on May 30th. Come over and say hi! You can check out the inside of the roving solar workshop, see Chris Rice’s murals in person, and get your picture taken for the Solarize Ghana collage. We’ll bring the collage (with your photo!) to West Africa to show our Ghanaian friends how many Americans have pitched in to bring clean, renewable energy to their schools and medical clinics. (Last Thursday is on Alberta Street from 15th to 30th Avenue from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m.)

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Launch Party in Seattle with Mosaic Company

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Thanks to Mosaic Company for a great Seattle Launch Party! Our first solar concert was performed by Celestine. The VIDA Team is rolling across beautiful Washington State in the SolBus this weekend. We'll be announcing our US tour stops soon! 

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