97-year-old excited about converting home to solar – Gloucester Mathews Gazette Journal

{iamge_2} At 97, Cardinal resident Marguerite DeVita is starting a trend among friends in Mathews County—making their homes operate on solar energy. A longtime dream, DeVita who considers herself a “true environmentalist,” is nearing the final steps of making her 3,200-square-foot home rely on solar energy.

DeVita recently signed up with Powerhome Solar and Roofing. She said for about a $20,000 upfront cost to install the solar panels on her roof, she is expected to save over $45,000 in the course of 25 years. “I’m sure I won’t even be around then,” she joked, but that didn’t deter her from making the investment.

“I want to go green with everything I can,” DeVita said. An avid cyclist, she still rides her bicycle each day, and when she does so, often picks up trash she finds along the roadside. She also said she tries to eat foods without a lot of preservatives. 

“I’m just so thankful,” she added. It’s been almost a year since her husband, Paul, passed away, and she said she is finally able to begin trying to enjoy life again. She said her first husband died in World War II and her second husband passed away at age 60 with lung cancer.

Following the death of her second husband, DeVita, who spent several decades as a school teacher, moved to Chincoteague Island, where she worked as an aesthetician. During this time, she took two different cycling tours through Europe. It was when she returned from the second trip that a friend of hers put her on an online dating site, Match.com. It wasn’t long before she met Paul, who had lost his wife several years prior.

“I had never even heard of Mathews County,” DeVita said. Now, however, she loves the county and its people and has enjoyed getting involved in a variety of activities. These range from selling handmade soaps at local markets to taking piano lessons and being active in the county’s PATH (People Aging in their Homes) program.

This program is a consortium of neighbors whose mission is to support each other’s goal to age at home by sharing tasks and services. “I love helping people, especially older people,” DeVita said.

When she shared an email about going solar to her friends, a number of people in the PATH program received it. “It began exploding,” DeVita said. “Many of them want to do it. They probably think, ‘If that old woman can do it, then I can too.’”

To her surprise, she said the process is relatively affordable. She said she could finance the project for slightly more than $100 a month. “I’m paying over $200 a month on my electric bill,” she said.

According to Powerhome Solar, solar panels work by letting photons released by the sun knock electrons free from atoms, and thus generate a flow of electricity. The company’s mission, according to its website, is to help customers have a positive environmental impact on the world and changing the way everyone thinks about power.

DeVita is concerned how the aging infrastructure of the power grid is costing power companies more and more money, which trickles down to the consumer. She is afraid that as the years move on, electricity will become more and more unaffordable, and is relieved she has taken these steps.

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Source: https://www.gazettejournal.net/index.php/news/news_article/97_year_old_excited_about_converting_home_to_solar

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