googlead166c37c697d4d3.html Glenn Ashton Author Blog: The President follows the Prince: Sun power to make Presidential toast in White House


Friday, November 5, 2010

The President follows the Prince: Sun power to make Presidential toast in White House

Carter put them on, Reagan took them off, Bush put some back on, and Obama refused to use Carter's.
Until now.
Bowing to pressure from activists, President Obama on October 5 finally caved in and agreed that the White House would have solar panels in 2011.
Jimmy Carter and White House solar panels
In 1979, when the price of oil shot up, Jimmy Carter installed installed 32 solar panels on the White House roof, just above the Oval Office, to heat water in the White house staff kitchen. Ronald Reagan had them taken down in 1986. In 2003, George W. Bush installed three solar systems on the White House grounds, with solar panels used to help with water heating on the pool cabana.
Glenn Close
The Jimmy Carter solar panels were stored, and in 1991 donations from, amongst others, Glenn Close funded the refurbishment of 16 panels which were placed on top of the cafeteria of Unity College, a private liberal arts school in Unity, Maine.
The Obama White House had resisted pressure from the co-founder of, Bill McKibben, to use solar panels on the White House. 
A Swiss documentary named A Road Not Taken chronicled the history of the solar panels of the Carter White House.
McKibben and students of the Unity College offered to give Obama some of the Jimmy Carter panels to install on the roof of the White House, but they were turned down.
McKibben then launched an online site called Put Solar On It! to persuade Obama to change his mind and make the highly symbolic move to solar power generation in the White House. 
The site targets world leaders to install solar panels on their residences. McKibben obtained over 40,000 signatures in support of the White House doing this.
At the time McKibben said it would be a fun thing for Obama to do:
"There's a lot of flat space up there on the roof of the White House – it's a nice, big Southern exposure. There's no reason that they couldn't produce a lot, probably all, of the hot water that they use, and some good share of the electricity," McKibben said. "This will be a great opportunity, a fun opportunity, for him to re-connect with all those people who have been hoping for action."
Put solar power on it route
Apparently McKibbon did not think that the Obama White House eco-friendly Easter egg roll and organic vegetable garden on the South Lawn were good enough for the Yes We Can president, so he and Unity College students loaded up one of the Jimmy Carter solar panels and set off to the White House to give it to Obama so that it could end up back on the White House roof.
No doubt the announcement on 26 August 2010 by the Prince of Wales to install 32 solar panels on roof of Clarence House spurred President Obama on – given the Prince's long-established environmental record:
Prince Charles has long been a keen advocate for renewable energy, which he says already provides almost a quarter of his household’s electricity. He announced three years ago that Clarence House, which is situated in Pall Mall, had become carbon neutral through carbon offsetting and the use of energy-efficient boilers. He has also converted his Jaguar and Land Rover to run on biodiesel derived from used cooking oil and his classic Aston Martin runs on bioethanol fuel made from surplus British wine.
So, we could say that as from 2011 a little bit of Jimmy Carter solar heat will warm the current Administration's family.
Way to go, President Carter! Nice catchup, President Obama!
And you've done a heckuva job, Bill McKibben!

Jimmy Carter panel on way to Obama

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