White House Planning to Add Solar Panels

Mon, 2010-10-11 10:23

Aside from Executive Order (EO) 13514 which requires Federal Agencies to make sustainability a priority, President Obama continues to be an advocate of green energy and lead by example. The white house already boasts a garden of organic vegetables and will soon be adding solar panels to its living quarters.

Jimmy Carter Solar panels

In this June 21, 1979, photo President Jimmy Carter speaks against a backdrop of solar panels at the White House, which were removed in the 1980s. On Tuesday, the Obama administration announced that it will install a new rooftop solar array above the first family's living quarters.

Full text of the article below:

America's most famous home, already growing organic vegetables, is going greener with rooftop solar panels.

The Obama administration announced Tuesday that the White House will have solar panels to generate electricity and a solar water heater atop the living quarters by spring 2011.

"President Obama has said the federal government has to lead by example in creating opportunity and jobs in clean energy," said Nancy Sutley, head of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. The Department of Energy will begin a competitive bid process to select a company to do the work.

Obama, who has promoted renewable energy, has come under pressure from environmentalists and the solar industry to install photovolotaic roof panels at the White House. President Jimmy Carter did so in 1979, but the panels were removed during the Reagan administration. President George W. Bush used solar energy to power a maintenance building on the grounds and heat the pool.

Last month, Bill McKibben, author of books about the environment, led a group of global warming activists in carrying a Carter-era solar panel from Unity College in Maine to the White House, where he asked officials to re-install it. He said it would make at least "symbolic amends" for Obama's failure to get a climate change bill passed this year. He pitched his "Put Solar On It" road trip on CBS' Late Show With David Letterman.

"The White House did the right thing," McKibben said in a written 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."

A coalition of solar companies led by Sungevity? offered Obama free rooftop solar panels and launched a "Globama" petition drive to put new panels on the White House roof.

"The Obamas will start saving some money with solar electricity next year," said Sungevity founder Danny Kennedy.? He said his California-based company will compete for the contract.

"It's a strange hark back to the Carter administration," said David Kreutzer, an energy and environment scholar at the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank. He said Obama wants taxpayers to pay for solar panels that, without current federal tax credits, most homeowners wouldn't buy.

"If these are wonderful ideas, you don't need to force people to do it," Kreutzer said.

The Energy Department said the White House solar array will produce an estimated 19,700 kilowatts of electricity annually, more than twice the 8,800 kilowatts used each year by the average Washington home. Based on utility rates in the area, that would save nearly $2,300 a year in electric bills, and the solar water heater would save an additional $1,000.

What are your thoughts on solar panels at the white house? Let us know below. If you would like to learn more about EO 13514 register for a class near you today. If you are interested in taking a class on Solar energy register now Everblue's Solar Bootcamp course.

Link to USA Today article