The current President of the United States of America certainly has been exercising his Commander-in-Chief duties, not only by starting to extricate our troops from Iraq and plugging the gaps in veterans’ care left by the previous administration, but also by making a series of very public actions in support of the U.S. military’s efforts to adopt more sustainable energy. The latest move is today’s announcement that solar panels will be installed on the roof of the White House. Or rather, make that re-installed…
Solar Panels and the White House…Then
The sad fact is that President Carter first installed solar energy at the White House more than 40 years ago, and his presenting statement from 1979 practically drips with the irony of unfulfilled promise: “A generation from now, this solar heater can either be a curiosity, a museum piece, an example of a road not taken, or it can be just a small part of one of the greatest and most exciting adventures ever undertaken by the American people.” Just one year later, President Reagan took office and promptly removed the solar water heater.
Solar Panels and the White House…Now
Well, better late than never, eh? The new solar installation, which was timed to be announced on the first day of the first annual GreenGov Symposium consists of solar panels and a solar hot water heater. It’s a largely symbollic gesture, designed to illustrate how solar technology is part of the mainstream. But beyond the symbolism, the Obama Administration has gone out on a political limb and devoted serious public resources into developing alternative energy programs that create new green jobs even while still dealing with, er, budget issues bequeathed by the previous administration.
Image: White House by Anthony Alvernaz on flickr.com.
Tina Casey specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Tina’s articles are reposted frequently on Reuters, Scientific American, and many other sites. You can also follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.