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They’re back: Solar panels return to a White House that’s getting greener

Published on Written by , Jason Hartke Posted in Advocacy and policy

This summer news is as refreshing as an Arnold Palmer. For the first time in eight presidential terms (that’s 32 years, but who’s counting?), solar panels will be back on the roof of the White House. According to reports, installation began last week.

The energy-saving move was green-lit, so to speak, three years ago as part of a broader White House energy retrofit effort. Energy Secretary Steven Chu made the announcement in 2010 at the GreenGov Symposium, a now defunct event that was once hosted annually by the White House Council on Environmental Quality. “The White House will lead by example,” Chu said at the time of the announcement. “There will be solar panels that convert sunlight into electricity and a solar hot water heater on the roof of the White House.” 

Of course, President Carter had been the first and last president to have solar panels on the roof of the first family’s residence. President Reagan had them removed in 1986. Solar returned to the grounds of the White House under President George W. Bush in 2003 with the addition of a solar system on a maintenance building to help heat the swimming pool.

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Jason Hartke

Vice President, National Policy and Advocacy U.S. Green Building Council

2 commentsLeave a comment

U.S. Green Building Council
In the first lecture of the course I'm teaching I mention the history of solar installation and subsequent removal with the administration shift. Happy to update this with some good news!
Project Manager IV, Construction Mgmt. Div., Broward County Commission, Florida
It is about time! I wonder how long they will stay on the roof this time? Another good reason to keep fossil fuel companies, hand-picked politicians away from the executive branch. Don't you love it when Washington shows it can lead by positive example?

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