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  Public Employee Press

PEP Dec 2006
Table of Contents
  La Voz

Public Employee Press

Retiree Etta Dixon goes solar

Etta Dixon is the first person in her Brooklyn neighborhood to have solar panels installed on the roof of her two-story, four-family home.

Etta Dixon knows exactly what it means to be at the forefront of change.

Back in 1963 she was the first woman on her street in Brownsville, Brooklyn, to become a homeowner.

“Women couldn’t even get apartments, getting mortgages in those days was out of the question, because by definition, a single woman was considered transient,” said Dixon, who retired from theTransit Authority after 34 years of service and now works as a secretary for the Retirees Association of District Council 37.

Dixon recently found herself at the forefront again when she became the first person on her street to install solar panels for hot water heating on the roof of her two story, four-family home.

“I’ve always wanted to install solar panels,” said Dixon, who was recycling long before the practice became popular.

Dixon got technical help from members of a food co-op that she belongs to. “My friend Asantewaa also connected me to the Bright Power Solar People,” she said. Her home was a good candidate for roof solar panels because it had 100 square feet of unshaded area necessary to collect sufficient sunlight.

“Why should I burn fuel when we have free energy from the sun?” asks the feisty retiree who describes herself as an environmentalist.

Not only is she helping to save the environment but she’s also saving on her heating bills. During the summer when there’s plenty of sunshine, the new system can supply approximately 70 percent of her water heating needs. During the winter months the system will supply around 30 percent. Annually Dixon will save an estimated 50 percent on her water heating bills. She will also receive $5,000 in tax credits off the price she paid for the installation in addition to a senior citizens discount.

“To get all the fuel we need, we have wars and all this killing. When will common sense kick in?” Dixon asks, once again putting her in the forefront.




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