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.


2 Responses to “Solar Panels Go Back on the White House. Back on the Road Not Taken?”

  1. MorinMoss Says:

    Carter was pessimistically prophetic about this – I think that, in his heart, he knew that it would be the “road not taken” but while he’s one of the presidents so many love to hate, I give him kudos for his forthrightness, his willingness to tell the people the unvarnished truth and for planting the seed of the solar revolution.

    Obama, otoh, deserves scorn for not doing this sooner and for not meeting Bill McKibben and accepting one of Carter’s original White House solar panels from him 3 years ago.

    A leader should lead, from the front and I don’t think Obama did a very good job of that in the 1st four years.
    Bill Maher said that the strength of Republicans is that they don’t run from polls – they change them.
    That’s something Democrats and their presidents really need to learn.

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