With summer only one week away, it doesn't appear as if the Obama administration will achieve its spring pledge of adding solar panels to the White House.
The announcement last October
was received with open arms by the renewable energy industry and environmentalists, which backed installation of the panels as a symbolic gesture of support by President Barack Obama. (And don't forget: The White House did once have solar panels
— that is until Ronald Reagan had them removed.)
Administration officials at the time estimated that between 25-75 photovoltaic panels would be installed, outputting about 19,700 kilowatt hours of electricity a year and saving $2,300 annually. The solar hot water heater would save an additional $1,000.
“As we move toward a clean energy economy, the White House will lead by example,” Secretary of Energy Steven Chu said at the time.
With no panels in sight, advocacy groups like Put Solar On It
are ramping up campaigns to remind the White House of the pledge and urging that the installation move forward.
“Well, they promised they'd have them up this spring, and I'm sure they will," famed environmentalist Bill McKibben said earlier this month. "They're a can-do bunch, and two weeks is plenty of time to finish a job I'm sure they've been hard at work on this since making their promise last fall. Only a cynic would suggest they did it simply to get us off their backs. Maybe the president will even strap on a tool belt himself, like the president of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed
, who installed panels on his residence in a matter of weeks last year."
Love Bill's optimism, but it appears that spring 2011 will not usher in a greener White House. Hopefully, the warmer weather will bring sunshine to a promise that's starting to look a bit cloudy.
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