Solar Panels Go Back on the White House. Back on the Road Not Taken?
August 16, 2013
After nearly three years, the White House began installing solar panels on the First Family’s residence this week, a White House official confirmed Thursday.
The Obama administration had pledged in October 2010 to put solar panels on the White House as a sign of thepresident’s commitment to renewable energy.
The White House official, who asked not to be identified because the installation is in process, wrote in an e-mail the project is “a part of an energy retrofit that will improve the overall energy efficiency of the building.”
At the time of the 2010 announcement, then-Energy Secretary Steven Chu and White House Council on Environmental Quality chair Nancy Sutley said the administration would conduct a competitive bidding process to buy between 20 and 50 solar panels. The officials did not identify the supplier or cost of the project, but wrote the White House “has begun installing American-made solar panels” and the initiative, “which will help demonstrate that historic buildings can incorporate solar energy and energy efficiency upgrades, is estimated to pay for itself in energy savings over the next eight years.”
This is not the first time solar panels have graced the White House’s roof: President Jimmy Carter had 32 installed in the late 1970s to provide hot water, but President Ronald Reagan removed them in 1986. Then in 2003 President George W. Bush installed a photovoltaic system on a maintenance building and two solar thermal units. The system heated the White House swimming pool.