By Mardina Graham
When you think of homeowners with solar panels, you probably don't think of me: a retired postal worker and grandmother who has lived in San Francisco's Bayview neighborhood for nearly 50 years.
I know I didn't think of me when I thought of solar power. I was interested in going solar, but it seemed like something expensive that only companies in Silicon Valley or well-to-do homeowners in Marin could afford.
So that's what caught my attention in 2006 when I attended a neighborhood meeting. Someone from the San Francisco Department of the Environment spoke about a program with the nonprofit GRID Alternatives. It was all about helping lower-income households in Southeast San Francisco take advantage of solar energy.
Certainly it was appealing to do something that was good for the environment, but I was also eager to reduce my very high electric bills.
So the idea of installing solar was great, but what would it cost me? Turns out, nothing, except for the hot dogs I decided to prepare for the workers and volunteers.
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