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 electrical 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. And this meant that she’s frequently lived in a house without power.
That’s all changed now.
Last week, a team of people installed a set of brand new solar panels on her roof — panels that cost next-to-nothing upfront. Panels 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. That frees her up to think about her kids and their futures — about the future of her whole community.
Because 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. Solar panels are now within reach for millions of people in this country thanks to steps that President Obama has taken in the past eight years. That’s very exciting.
President Obama is committed to providing every American family with the option to transition to solar energy and make home improvements to cut their energy bills. That is why, today, the Obama Administration is announcing a new cross-government partnership — Clean Energy Access For All — to increase solar energy and promote energy efficiency for working families and veterans across the United States.
In particular, this partnership will work to ensure every household can choose to go solar, either through installing panels directly on their roofs for homeowners or by setting up community solar systems for the 50 percent of homes and business that are renters or do not have adequate roof space to install solar systems.
As a part of this announcement, here are just a few ways President Obama is leading the way to support communities across the country in deploying clean energy options while creating jobs and reducing carbon pollution: