Gallery: Obama to Install Solar Panels on the White House This Spring


Looks like President Obama has finally given in to the pressure — the White House is about to go solar – again. In the 1970’s President Jimmy Carter had solar panels installed on the roof of the first home only to have President Ronald Reagan remove them later. Coalitions — like this one — have been pushing for Obama to bring solar back to the first residence as a sign of his commitment to renewable energy. The new solar array is expected to be installed by next spring and will heat the first family’s supply of hot water as well as supplement power for some of the the first family’s energy needs.

We’ve been wondering for the past 20 months when the solar panels would be installed – after all, if the Obamas decided to plant an organic garden at the White House right upon settling down in their new home, it seemed only fitting that they expand their own home’s green cred however they could while they pushed others to do the same. It looks like Secretary of Energy Steven Chu was part of the driving force in this green tech push as he was the one who announced the plans this morning on an environmentally focused conference call with national non-profit leaders.

Perhaps it was the success of the organic garden coupled with the trouble that the White House is having passing climate legislation that pushed them to bite the bullet. The old parental adage, “do what I say, not what I do,” seems not to have been working for the President, so perhaps his decision to walk the walk will help push Congress to pass comprehensive energy and climate legislation that we can all be proud of. For now, we’ll have to be proud that our first residence is finally a beacon of hope for the country’s renewable energy future.

Via Engadget


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  1. jbourne October 8, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    I think this is great. There are a lot of people hating on this as green washing, but I think getting the public to engage with solar is a win.
    Reminds me of this crazy calendar I found called Renewable Girls bikini babes posing with solar panels. This is the kind of thing we need more of!

  2. jphelpsfl October 6, 2010 at 3:44 am

    I still find it rather insulting that it took Obama this long to finally do it. It’s particularly frustrating given that there have been, as this article halfway points out a number of Solar coalitions and activists pressuring the administration to do so since he took office after running on campaign promises of promoting cleaner energy uses. Some companies have even offered to donate the panels, installation, and maintenance. The Associated Press and Washington Post both posted articles giving credit to’s founder Bill McKibben, and a team of activists from Unity College, for carrying one of the old Carter Era solar panels to the White House last month in order to bring attention to this issue. That’s right folks… There were working solar panels on the roof of the WH 30 years ago. Not to take away from any of the work that Sungevity’s “Solar on the White House” team has put into this but I am bummed that Inhabitat failed to mention the efforts of and the Unity researchers.
    I would also like to point out that this coming sunday 10/10/10 there is a global work day, for folks to volunteer or work on projects in their communities to help to do something and raise awareness about global warming. There is plenty of information available just do a search.
    Before anyone gets on my case about solar being inefficient, read some past articles on this website. They have profiled a number of communities and buildings with solar arrays that provide than enough and even a surplus of energy needed to operate. Individual panels aren’t perfect by any means, I understand that, but they do help and are very much worth the investment. The more we reduce our dependence on oil and coal produced energy the more will see advances in cleaner, safer, sustainable energy production.

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