It took a while, but the White House is finally reinstalling solar panels.
The History on White House Solar
In 1979, when Jimmy Carter was President, he had 32 solar panels installed on the White House, but in 1986, Reagan had them removed, in what was seen as a capitulation to the fossil fuel industry. Carter's panels eventually ended up on a cafeteria at Unity College in Maine. In 2008, following President Obama's election, Mat McDermott wrote that Obama should reinstall solar as a symbol for his commitment to encouraging the use of renewable energy. In September of 2010, Bill McKibben and 350.org drove to Washington with Jimmy Carter's original solar panels in effort to pressure Obama to reinstall solar. After initially denying to accept the free solar panels, in October of 2010, the White House announced they would install solar panels by Spring of 2011. As Summer of 2011 approached there was still no solar, so 350.org encouraged readers to pressure the White House to fulfill its promise. Three years later, that promise is being fulfilled.
The White House official, who asked not to be identified because the installation is in process, wrote in an e-mail the project is “a part of an energy retrofit that will improve the overall energy efficiency of the building.”
At the time of the 2010 announcement, then-Energy Secretary Steven Chu and White House Council on Environmental Quality chair Nancy Sutley said the administration would conduct a competitive bidding process to buy between 20 and 50 solar panels. The officials did not identify the supplier or cost of the project, but wrote the White House “has begun installing American-made solar panels” and the initiative, “which will help demonstrate that historic buildings can incorporate solar energy and energy efficiency upgrades, is estimated to pay for itself in energy savings over the next eight years.”