Buildings President Obama orders solar panels installed at White House

Published on October 6th, 2010 | by Tina Casey


U.S. Commander-in-Chief Orders Solar Panels for White House

October 6th, 2010 by  

President Obama orders solar panels installed at White HouseThe 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

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About the Author

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. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.

  • Kevin M. Brooks

    Minor nitpick: 1979 was 31 years ago, not over 40.

    • Tina Casey

      Kevin: Thank you. I wonder why nobody else caught that. Anyways, 31 years is still a long time, right?!

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