President Jimmy Carter had them installed. Reagan’s administration removed them. George Bush Sr. dabbled with a small installation. Now, they’re really making a comeback.
At the 2010 GreenGov Symposium, The White House announced that solar panels will be reinstalled on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue along with a solar hot water heater system as part of a U.S. Department of Energy demonstration project. It’s still early in the project, so the total scope of the renewable energy project wasn’t revealed or even settled at this stage. Indeed, the government is just getting ready to take bids for the project. (Would be a nice coup for the winning solar firm. Come on solar startups, step up!)
However big or small the installation, it’s likely to provide only a fraction of the electricity and water it takes to supply the sprawling estate. Nonetheless, it’s a big symbolic gesture by the Obama Administration and a reversal of publicly declining to install solar in the President’s home. Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, said in a release, “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.”
Whether or not it kicks off a wave of a surge of cleantech adoption, it’s a fine way of leading by example.
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons