Solar panels return to White House

The White House is making good on a late 2010 pledge to put up solar panels.
 
“The White House has begun installing American-made solar panels on the first family’s residence as a part of an energy retrofit that will improve the overall energy efficiency of the building,” a White House official said.

The installation drew cheers from an environmental group that in 2010 called for panels to return to the White House after the Reagan administration removed a Carter-era solar panel installation.

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“Better late than never — in truth, no one should ever have taken down the panels Jimmy Carter put on the roof way back in 1979,” said Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org.

“But it's very good to know that once again the country's most powerful address will be drawing some of that power from the sun,” he said.

The new solar energy panels are part of broader energy-related changes to the first family’s residence.

“The retrofit will include the installation of energy-saving equipment, such as updated building controls and variable speed fans, as well as solar generation. The project will help demonstrate that historic buildings can incorporate solar energy and energy efficiency upgrades,” the White House official said.

The White House did not disclose the cost of the project or provide details about the system.

In late 2010 officials said the White House project would involve solar electricity panels and a solar hot water heater.

While the White House itself is getting solar panels, the White House grounds have not been devoid of solar-based energy since Reagan took down Carter’s solar water-heating installation.

A solar photovoltaic system on a National Park Service maintenance shed and a solar hot water system on a cabana have been in use since 2002, the White House said.

This post was updated at 1:49 p.m.