Jimmy Carter originally installed solar panels on the White House in 1979 as more of a political gesture and they were removed by the Regan Administration shortly after Regan took office at what some believe to be a symbolic statement against renewable energy. Early solar technology required up to 10 years to see a return on investment and it is unlikely that the first solar panels on the White House ever paid for themselves.
According to this old GovPro trade journal article; in 2003 then president George W. Bush installed solar panels on the white house to power some property maintenance building and heat the White House pool. Well actually the National Parks Services made the call. The National Park Service has had success using solar energy to meet energy needs in remote areas in several National Parks for years and have witnessed and the entire investment cycle to safely assess ROI of many solar energy systems.
Additionally the White House has added solar panels during the Obama Administration both as an energy savings measure and political statement. Obama, who has been promoting renewable energy throughout his presidency. According to USA Today the White House installed more panels in 2010 in an effort to inspire the Country to invest more in solar technologies. It is said these panels should already be delivering savings.
It would be nice to know some statistics on the effectiveness of systems installed under President Bush now that nearly 10 years have passed as well as the new systems installed by Obama.
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