Should the White House go solar?
The answer — from a new campaign by several solar power companies to encourage the most famous address in the U.S. to go renewable — is a resounding yes. Led by Sungevity, the "Globama" project is offering the White House a 102-panel, 17.85-kilowatt solar system that would reduce the White House's electric bills 81 percent or $1,610 per month.
That's quite an upgrade from the old 32-panel solar array that used to sit on top of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Back in 1979, then President Jimmy Carter installed the system, which was used to heat water for the staff eating area — and usher in a new era in American innovation and independence from foreign fossil fuels.
Unfortunately, President Regan had them removed in 1986 during a roof repair — and they never returned.
Fast forward 24 years, and a group called "Put Solar On It" from Unity College is taking a road trip from Maine to the D.C. next week to deliver one of those famous Carter panels back to President Obama. Environmentalist and author Bill McKibben recently announced that he was tagging along for the ride. "We're taking them back to the White House ... It's time to put these back up," McKibben said Tuesday on "The Late Show With David Letterman".
While the Obamas have certainly instituted a number of eco-friendly additions since 2008, adding solar to the roofline would be quite the statement. It would show a level of commitment to the renewable energy sector not seen from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in more than 30 years.
Not to mention, this time around, it would be much harder for any future administration to just make this massive array "disappear" during a roof repair.