As President Obama makes his way to California to preach the gospel of solar power, his words have become action back home in Washington D.C. After years of waiting, the White House solar array is now fully installed and has been switched on. Finally, the most important house in the nation has a rooftop solar power plant that reduces dependence on fossil fuels and sets an example for the rest of us. Early in his presidency, clean energy advocates encouraged Obama to replace the White House solar panels that were removed during the Reagan administration. The White House finally agreed in October 2010, although work didn’t begin until August, 2013.
At the time of the 2010 announcement, then Energy Secretary Steven Chu and White House Council on Environmental Quality chair Nancy Sutley said the administration would conduct a competitive bidding process to buy between 20 and 50 solar panels. The manufacturer was never named, but one thing is for certain: the panels are made in America. The White House said the decision to resurrect the solar array originally installed by President Jimmy Carter in 1979 was “part of an energy retrofit that will improve the overall energy efficiency of the building” and an attempt to “demonstrate that historic buildings can incorporate solar energy and energy efficiency upgrades,” according to the Washington Post.
According to a statement by White House spokesman Matt Lehrich, “The panels are on the portion of the White House where the Obamas reside, will provide 6.3 kilowatts of solar generation, and the array is “estimated to pay for itself in energy savings over the next eight years.”
“The size of the array we established here is the typical size for the average American house,” says James Doherty, White House usher, in a behind-the-scenes video released by the Administration. Security concerns prevented the whole roof being covered, he said.
President Obama is expected to unveil several new initiatives intended to expand the deployment of solar power, using “his executive authority to announce $2 [billion in] funding for energy-saving measures at federal government buildings, as well as new financing and training programmes [sic] for solar installations,” reports the Guardian.
Via The Guardian
Images are screen shots taken from WhiteHouse.gov on YouTube