It’s the season of campaigns and campaign promises, but for the solar industry, an unfulfilled presidential promise from nearly three years ago is still rankling.
In 2011, President Obama announced that he was bringing back solar panels to the White House. Over twenty years before, in 1979, President Jimmy Carter installed a solar hot water system on the White House as a way to encourage solar development in the United States. But just a few short years later during the Reagan administration, the system was removed and the panels were taken down in 1986.
So the solar energy industry was greatly encouraged two decades later to hear that President Obama would be bringing solar back home to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. After the announcement in 2011, Energy Secretary Steven Chu said, “This project reflects President Obama’s strong commitment to U.S. leadership in solar energy and the jobs it will create here at home. Deploying solar energy technologies across the country will help America lead the global economy for years to come.”
But nearly three years after the initial announcement and there are still no solar panels at the White House. CleanTechnica says, “At this point, it is too late to make excuses for the glaring absence of solar technology at the White House. Even George Bush had some solar presence at the White House…”
The Atlantic reported that during George W. Bush’s time in office, the National Park Service installed a small, 9KW solar electric system on the White House grounds as well as two solar hot water systems.
More than 1.5 million people tour the White House facilities annually. Solar in operation on the grounds would stand as an unprecedented example to those visitors.