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President Obama Promised White House Solar Panels; Where Are They?

6/17/2011 12:00:00 AM

Tags: solar panels, White House, President Obama, Energy Department

Robyn Griggs Lawrence thumbnail“Solar Panels are Back on the White House roof!” was the optimistic headline for a blog I posted on October 6, 2010, following President Obama’s announcement that he would install solar panels and a solar hot water heater on the White House roof by spring 2011. “When President Ronald Reagan removed the 32 solar panels that his predecessor, Jimmy Carter, put on the White House roof, most people saw it as a metaphor for renewable energy’s future in that administration,” I wrote at that time. “For the next 20 years, alternative energy languished in this country, a solution for the super-rich or the super-crunchy but not accessible to most of us. But the times, they are a-changin’ (really).”

Well, maybe not really.

Spring officially ends next week, and the White House is strangely silent about the panels that never materialized. Throughout this spring, I’ve e-mailed the White House, through all the various channels I can find, to ask what’s up. I get responses to about a third of my inquiries, but they have nothing to do with White House solar panels. I fear that promise has gone the way of the Guantanamo closing and so many others. My hope, it is a-fadin’.

But there’s strength in numbers, and I’m giving it one more try. Today Credo Action launched a campaign urging people to call President Obama and ask him to install the solar panels on the White House. “This is a simple and easy commitment on climate action, and the President should make good on it,” Credo Action’s website states. Indeed, this is one action that President Obama could take without having to fight Congress or make any compromises. Michelle could handle it. I guess they’ve been busy.

President Obama’s number is (202) 456-1111. Credo Action suggests being friendly and nice, saying something like: “I’m calling to ask President Obama to make good on his commitment to install solar panels on the White House this spring. This is a simple but important opportunity for the President to lead on climate action, and I urge him to follow through. Thank you.”

The number is nearly always busy, so keep trying. So far, 405 people have gotten through and reported back to Credo Action. Let’s be a little audacious.

white house solar panels 

I found this model of the White House with solar panels at We Make Money Not Art, via flickr. 



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