What’s a 37 year old single mom, who lives in a three room mobile home in Israel’s Galilee doing to support herself? Why she’s selling portable solar energy units to farmers, that’s what!
Shiri Broida, originally from Kibbutz Ein Harod Ihud, isn’t the normal example of an Israeli woman in her mid 30’s. Her lifestyle is simple, living with her 7 year old daughter Gal in a remote moshav (cooperative farming) village and smoking locally made Montana cigarettes: “no one bums any, ’cause they’re cheap.”
In addition to her solar energy enterprise, she also drives a Land Rover for an off-the-road tour company the takes people on 3 to 5 hour trekking trips in various rough terrain parts of Israel.
Shiri is no stranger to hard work, having left school at the age to 16 of work in the cotton and fish enterprises of her kibbutz, which included wading chest deep into fish ponds to net carp and other fresh water species being grown there.
After an interesting army stint which included her spending time in a military brig for disagreeing with “company policy.” After the army, she took off for South Africa where she spent some time trekking around that country, plus Zimbabwe and other places.
After a stint back in Israel, she returned to Africa in 2001 where she met a dude named Lawrence and wound up in a “family way” as a result.
Needing something to support herself and her baby daughter, she told Haaretz in this weekend’s edition, that she became interested in the portable solar energy units, manufactured by an American company called Greenway Solar Products, based in Boston Massachusetts.
Her kibbutz background enabled her to have a keen idea what farmers like dairy farmers and poultry raisers need to have low cost electricity to power their dairy and poultry sheds. The arrangement has turned out to not only profitable (the farmers even assist in setting up the solar collecting panels which take up about half a dunam (1/8th acre) of land. The units make enough electricity so that the farmers can sell part of it to the Israel Electric company (around NS 1,500 a month), helping them get a faster return on their investment.
Shiri claims that the solar panels that are erected not only make electricity, but actually lower temperatures in the sheds on which they are erected by an average of 2 to 3 degrees c, which is great for poultry farmers. She also only has to work about 4 hours a day in this endeavor, giving her more time to be with her daughter and pursue other opportunities, such as the rough terrain driving gig.
Her only real lacking is a “suitable partner” one who can identify with her earthy lifestyle and appreciate the simple life. “Internet dating sites are not for me”, she says.
Shiri loves the outdoors and her lifestyle shows this; which is probably why she got into as an environmental friendly business as solar energy. She also loves to be with friends instead of going out or watching television. “We don’t have cable TV” she added.
The only question we have for Shiri is why American solar panels and not Israeli-made ones, like those from Interdan? Check out our guide of suppliers and innovative Israeli solar energy companies here.