Intelligent Energy

Glo-bama: the campaign to install solar panels on the White House

Glo-bama: the campaign to install solar panels on the White House

Posting in Energy

California-based Sungevity offers a solar system to the Presidential home. Will Obama pass on free power?

President Obama speaks often about expanding the clean energy economy. But like many of us, why not start at home?

The First Home, that is.

Sure, there are already solar panels atop a maintenance shed and solar-thermal is heating the Presidential pool, but Sungevity is petitioning the Obama Administration and the Department of Interior to add more sun power to the grounds.

The Oakland-based company is offering to donate and install 102  photovoltaic panels on the White House rooftop.

According to Sungevity, their 17.85-kilowatt system would save, in dollars, more than 81 percent of the White House electric bill. In carbon emissions over 15 years, it would save about 1,519,877 miles driven by car (*does not include Secret Service entourage).

Should Obama accept the offer, he would not be the first Commander-in-Chief to sleep beneath a solar roof.

In 1979, President Jimmy Carter had 32 solar panels placed on the rooftop. At the time he said:

A generation from now, this solar heater can either be a curiosity, a museum piece, an example of the road not taken, or it can be a small part of one of the greatest adventures ever undertaken by the American people.

As it turns out, those solar panels ended up being a little bit of all four. About 7 years later in 1986, President Ronald Reagan had them removed. Eventually, some captured sunbeams shining elsewhere in the country. Two of the panels wound up in the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library, as an exhibit.

Having sent the request to Obama last week, the solar company awaits a response. If positive, the panels in question will hopefully survive more than two terms.

Image: Sungevity
Via: EcoGeek

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Melissa Mahony

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Melissa Mahony has written for Scientific American Mind, Audubon Magazine, Plenty Magazine and LiveScience. Formerly, she was an editor at Wildlife Conservation magazine. She holds degrees from Boston College and New York University's Science, Health, and Environmental Reporting Program. She is based in New York. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure