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Installing solar panels on the White House

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In May of this year, President Obama put solar panels back on the White House roof. What a brilliant idea and example for U.S. Citizens to emulate! As Americans, we often follow suit when action is taken by our leaders. Solar panels on the White House just might inspire some people to do the same, or at least put more effort into going green. Why were solar panels removed from the White House in the first place?

History lesson

What do you mean, put them back? Those of us that have been through more than a few presidents might recall this wouldn't be the first time solar panels were implemented for White House use. Jimmy Carter erected them during his presidency. One can't help but wonder why Ronald Reagan chose to take them down. Wouldn't supplemental solar energy positively effect the budget as well as setting a White House precedent for going green?

What happened?

According to solarbus,

"Jimmy Carter put solar panels on the White House roof, and offered tax credits to anyone who purchased solar energy systems. Ronald Reagan removed the solar panels from the White House and terminated the tax credits. Many people in the solar industry went out of business. The country was convinced that solar doesn't work.”

What shame. Thankfully, people's view of solar energy has changed since then.

Motivations of the Past

While the roof was indeed leaking when the panels were removed, there was clearly another motivation. Otherwise, the panels would have been put back in place when the roof repair was completed. Why didn't Reagan choose to put the panels back on the White House? After all, they were already paid for. The only loss involved was a loss of higher energy bills for the White House. Thankfully, the controversy can be put to rest. Now that the solar panels are back, who cares? Let's leave the past in the past and just enjoy the present!



Democratic Underground

Mother Jones

Portions of this article were previously published by this author on a now closed Yahoo property.