Finally: Obama Green Lights Solar Panels on White House
Details are not yet final, but President Obama has finally allowed retrofitting the White House roof to allow for solar panels. No, this is not a plot from HBO's hit series Veep: it is finally happening. The final total of panels will range between 20 and 50 solar panels according to Think Progress and the Washington Post—perhaps enough to power a few flat screen TVs or power the equivalent of 15 seconds of flight on Air Force One. It is a step that is surely attracting all kinds of buzz in and outside of Washington, DC, one either seen as a token effort, a sign of leadership on sustainability, or as a yawner. The installation falls on the heels of a 2010 promise Obama had made to install a rooftop solar system.
So while Obama's "all of the above" energy policy roils those on both the left and right, and the solar panels will hardly be enough to make a dent in the 132-room mansion's energy consumption, the panels at the very least show the current administration is leading by example on clean energy policy.
Not that any of this toying around with solar is new. Those old enough to remember the energy shocks of the 1970s, gas lines and even-odd license plate numbered days will recall that Jimmy Carter ordered solar panels to be plunked on the White House roof. The panels were rudimentary compared to the ones on the market today, but they did heat water and serve a purpose, until his successor, Ronald Reagan, ordered them removed during the 1980s. Oil prices had tanked, so few rued the day those panels were banished to a cafeteria rooftop at a college in Maine.
Meanwhile, during George W. Bush's first term, solar made its way onto the White House grounds. Buried in the news as the U.S. nudged towards a war with Iraq, 167 American-made solar panels made their way to a rooftop—not the president's house, but a building (or a "shed") used for White House maintenance. Two solar thermal systems also were installed—one to heat the pool, the other to heat hot water. At the time of the project's completion, an executive of one of the contractors tasked with the installation said, "There is something special about an installation at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue." Sweet words indeed, compared to what we are going to hear once the new rooftop system is up and running.
Continue reading at ENN affiliate, Triple Pundit.
White House image via Shutterstock.