Solar Panels To Be Installed on The White House

ABC News' Sunlen Miller reports:

The White House will announce today that they will be installing solar panels on the White House in Spring of 2011, an administration official confirms. The announcement will be made by Secretary of Energy Chu at the GreenGov conference this morning at The George Washington University.

The president has long touted the benefits of solar power – not only to create a greener country and save energy but also as a job creator that will aid the overall economic recovery.

“We've got some fights to make sure that we're sparking innovation and igniting a clean energy sector where American workers are making solar panels and wind towers and cutting-edge batteries for the new plug-in hybrid, that leads on clean energy -- because the economy that leads on clean energy I believe is going to lead the global economy. And I want America to be that nation,” the president said in February of this year.

When asked in May of this year what the status of working towards a more solar at his own house, President Obama remained coy, only answering that he thought it is a “great idea.”

Over the last two years the solar lobby has been out in full force – lobbying for the president to install solar panels. Groups like “Put Solar On It!” and “Solar on the White House” created online petitions to pressure the White House to make an example by putting panels on the nation’s most famous house.

In February White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said there had been discussion of solar panels, but no decisions had been made. In the meantime, President Obama directed the entire federal government to make green improvements - including the use of more solar power at buildings other than the White House.

There is of course a long history of solar panels going up and coming down on the White House.

In June 1979 President Jimmy Carter, an early advocate of greening practices, installed 32 solar panels on the White House roof. The panels, installed just above the Oval Office, were used to heat water in the White house staff kitchen.

The original solar panels were removed in 1986 during the Reagan administration and placed in a government storage facility in Franconia, Va., just outside of Washington, DC.

In 2003, President George W. Bush quietly installed a series of three solar systems on the White House grounds, including panels on the pool cabana to help with water heating.

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