After Hurricane Irene, power to my entire block in Hampden was out — except at my house, thanks to my solar panels.

While the panels obviously didn't work during the night of the storm, by the next morning my fridge was still ice cold, my sump pump was back on and I was able to tend my yard without the din of a generator.

By the time nightfall came and my panels were starting to switch off, I had been able to accomplish all my electric chores. I spent the rest of the day chatting with neighbors and enjoying a peaceful evening.

Throw in the fact that tax credits lowered my panels to about 70 percent of their original price, and that I'm on my fifth month of $0 BGE bills, and I'm more than happy with my purchase.

Daniel Ewald, Baltimore