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White House Will Go Solar…Again

October 7th, 2010 · 2 Comments

The White House is installing solar panels & solar water heater in 2011 according to Energy Secretary Steven Chu on Tuesday. White house will go solar again

White House goes solar

The White House under the Obama administration is going solar in 2011. This was announced last Tuesday by Energy Secretary Steven Chu in Washington at a meeting of government, academic, and nonprofit leaders from all over the country to discuss ways on how the federal government can improve its environmental performance.

When completed in the spring of 2011, the project will have installed solar panels and a solar hot water heater on the roof of the White House Residence. The renewable energy generated from this project will be minimal, but the symbolic effect will be quite powerful in helping to stimulate solar energy awareness and adoption in millions of households across America. According to Secretary Chu:

“This project reflects President Obama’s strong commitment to U.S. leadership in solar energy and the jobs it will create here at home. Deploying solar energy technologies across the country will help America lead the global economy for years to come.”

The White House solar project is now in the early design and procurement stage and is expected to be completed next year. The photovoltaic (PV) system will convert sunlight directly to electricity. The solar hot water heater will have a solar collector facing the sun that will heat water for use in the White House Residence.

Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, remarked:

“President Obama has said the Federal Government has to lead by example in creating opportunity and jobs in clean energy. By installing solar panels on arguably the most famous house in the country, his residence, the President is underscoring that commitment to lead and the promise and importance of renewable energy in the United States.”

The reaction throughout the blogosphere and among environmental advocates about the announcement has been hugely positive. Bill McKibben, founder of the 350.org group which led a demonstration last month to urge the administration to go solar, responded on Tuesday in a statement to the Washington Post, saying:

“The White House did the right thing, and for the right reasons: They listened to the Americans who asked for solar on their roof, and they listened to the scientists and engineers who told them this is the path to the future,” McKibben said in a statement. If it has anything like the effect of the White House garden, it could be a trigger for a wave of solar installations across the country and around the world.”

This isn’t the first time that renewable energy systems were installed on the roofs of the White House. In the late 70s, former president Jimmy Carter had solar water-heating system installed at the presidential residence, only to be removed by his successor in the early eighties. A less known fact is that the previous Bush administration also employed solar systems to power a maintenance building and some of the mansion, and heated water for the pool.

Watch Video: Trailer of the upcoming documentary “A Road Not Taken” showing former president Jimmy Carter announcing the installation of solar panels at the White House on May 6, 1979.

Tags: Renewable Energy

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Pixie Gas // Oct 21, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    Thanks for sharing the trailer for that documentary.

  • 2 IT Recycling // Oct 29, 2010 at 3:45 am

    These innovative ideas must begin at the top and trickle down.