Walking a fine “green” line. White House turns down offer of solar panel. Update: President Obama agrees to install solar panels on White House

Posted on September 12, 2010

Bill McKibben speaks at Rochester Institute of...

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Given how much the Obama administration likes to tout its “green” bona fides you’d think they’d be open to putting at least one solar panel up on the White House roof.  Especially one that has some history connected to it. But it seems that isn’t the case. 

From the New York Times: 

Bill McKibben, an environmental campaigner from Vermont with a flair for showmanship, was rebuffed Friday morning in his effort to get the White House to reinstall one of the solar panels that President Jimmy Carter had placed on the White House roof. 

They were removed by the Reagan administration, and some have been stored for years at environmentally active Unity College in Maine. Mr. McKibben and a group of students drove one of the panels down the East Coast in the hope of getting the Obama White House to accept it and return it to the roof to heat water for presidential showers and dishwashing. 

Mr. McKibben met with three midlevel White House officials Friday morning who told him, politely, no dice. 

They explained that there were various reasons that the White House roof was not available for a gesture with very little energy-saving potential and that the Obama administration was doing more to promote renewable energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions than any previous government. The word “stunt” may have come up. 

I can understand not putting up the solar panel because the technology may be out of date and inefficient compared to solar panels produced today.  But, it seems a bit hypocritical of the administration to try and push the country towards alternative methods of energy without taking at least a tiny little step itself.  Something about leading by example applies here.  Cost wouldn’t even be an issue.  I’m sure President Obama’s pal Al Gore could even line the President up with some top of line solar panels…..cheap!  


It looks as if President Obama will be installing solar panels on the White House after all.  I give him kudos for practicing what he preaches.