The White House Goes Solar

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A quarter-century after President Ronald Reagan dismantled the solar panels placed on the White House roof by his predecessor, Jimmy Carter, the Obama administration has announced that it will install solar energy panels and a solar water heater atop the White House. U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu made the announcement, saying in a statement, “As we move toward a clean-energy economy, the White House will lead by example… This project reflects President Obama’s strong commitment to U.S. leadership in solar energy and the jobs it will create at home.”

His announcement comes a month after activist Bill McKibben led a caravan from Maine to Washington carrying one of the Carter-era solar panels and urging Obama to reinstall it. “The White House did the right thing, and for the right reasons,” McKibben said in a statement. “They listened to the scientists and engineers who told them this is the path to the future.” The new panels, which will be installed this spring, will heat water and provide a small amount of electricity to the White House residence.

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Yale Environment 360 is an online magazine offering opinion, analysis, reporting and debate on global environmental issues. We feature original articles by scientists, journalists, environmentalists, academics, policy makers, and business people, as well as multimedia content and a daily digest of major environmental news. Yale Environment 360 is published by the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and Yale University. We are funded in part by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The opinions and views expressed in Yale Environment 360 are those of the authors and not of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies or of Yale University.

  • Sabrina Hill

    If you are going to “lead by example”, (AND you are using taxpayer’s money to do it), what is with “The new panels, which will be installed this spring, will heat water and provide a small amount of electricity to the White House residence.” ???

    Power the White House up to 100% renewable energy! It’s not like the funds are not there. STOP the window dressing, and make a VIABLE example.