Hello, Sunshine: The White House Takes a Walk on the Solar Side
The country's most famed residence is installing solar panels and a solar hot water heater on the top of its roof.
The move to add two solar installations to the roof of the White House is part of an initiative by the Department of Energy to show Americans that solar technologies are available, reliable and ready to set up in homes throughout the country.
The announcement on Tuesday was made during the Council of Environmental Quality’s 2010 GreenGov Symposium, which -- as the name implies -- focuses on making the federal government greener.
"This project reflects President Obama's strong commitment to U.S. leadership in solar energy and the jobs it will create here at home," said United States Energy Secretary Steven Chu. "Deploying solar energy technologies across the country will help America lead the global economy for years to come."
The photovoltaic system will convert sunlight directly to electricity, while the solar hot water heater will have a solar collector facing the sun that will heat water for use in the White House. The company that will provide the installations has not yet been selected.
This is not the first time the White House has embraced solar energy . In fact, President Jimmy Carter had solar panels installed in the late 1970s to power a water heater in the West Wing. However, they were later removed in 1986.
President George W. Bush also used solar energy to power a maintenance building and heat up water for the White House pool.
According to Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, President Obama has said the federal government has to lead by example in creating opportunity and jobs in clean energy.
"By installing solar panels on [the White House], the President is underscoring that commitment to lead and the promise and importance of renewable energy in the United States," Sutley said.