It’s been a long time coming. In October 2010, President Barack Obama announced that the White House would soon install solar panels...then the country waited. But finally a presidential election later and nearly 35 years since solar panels last graced its roof, the White House is finally going solar, again.
Like many folks, the best time to update a home is during vacation and, as such, the Obama family is vacationing while energy efficiency retrofits and the solar panels are being installed on the Presidential mansion. The Washington Post broke the news that 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., is finally going solar with American-made PV modules.
At this point the installer has not been named, even though Sungevity promised to install solar on the White House for free in 2010 through its Glowbama campaign. The company hailed the President’s actions today: “Sungevity applauds President Obama for upholding his commitment to renewable energy by putting solar panels back on the White House.…Putting solar panels back on the White House sends a strong message to the American public and the world that the United States has the technology, resources and ability to supply cleaner, more efficient energy alternatives,” the company said.
The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) similarly lauded the installation. “We applaud President Obama for, once again, leading by example,” said SEIA CEO Rhone Resch.
“Today, solar is generating enough electricity to power more than 1.3 million American homes, and we’re extraordinarily proud to be adding the White House to this constantly-growing list,” Resch said. “Installing solar panels on the First Family’s official residence, arguably the most famous building in America, underscores the growing popularity of solar energy nationwide.”
In 2010, Bill McKibben’s 350.org also campaigned to have the White House install solar modules, traveling from Maine to DC with some of the original solar hot water modules that President Jimmy Carter (D) installed in the late 1970’s and were subsequently removed by President Ronald Reagan (R).
“We applaud the President for making solar a shining symbol at the White House for clean, renewable energy,” McKibben said. “Better late than never--in truth, no one should ever have taken down the panels Jimmy Carter put on the roof way back in 1979. But it's very good to know that once again the country's most powerful address will be drawing some of that power from the sun.”