How Ida Went Solar (And Why It Means You Can Too)

In 1990, the electric company shut off power to Ida Rhyne’s home in Baltimore for the first time. They did it because she simply couldn’t afford to pay her electric bill.

After working as a bus driver for over a decade, she suffered an accident that put her on a partial disability pension — and left her without a regular income. She sometimes had to make the tough choice between feeding her family, making her mortgage, and paying the electric company. You can probably guess which option she picked. As a result, she frequently lived in a house without power.

But that has all changed now.

Last week, a team of people installed a set of brand new solar panels on her roof — panels that cost her next-to-nothing upfront and that she will be able to pay off, over time, through savings on her monthly energy bill.

Now she says she wakes up every day and “just can’t stop smiling.” She feels like her home looks good. A major monthly expense no longer keeps her up at night, which enables her to think about her kids and their futures — and about the future of her whole community. While she says she is proud to be the first person on her block to have solar panels installed, she knows that she won’t be the last.

If you live in the Philadelphia area and are interested in having solar panels installed, contact SunPower Builders by calling 610-489-1105 or by emailing Jon Costanza. If you live in other parts of the country, contact SolarCity. In either case, for a mutually beneficial result, mention that you were referred by The Philadelphia Jewish Voice: You will receive a discount, and The Voice will receive a contribution in your honor.

Installing Solar Panels at the Publisher's house in Wynnewood. Photo credit: Dan Loeb.

Installing Solar Panels at the Publisher’s house in Wynnewood. Photo credit: Dan Loeb.

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