US Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Council of Environmental Quality (CEQ) Chair Nancy Sutley today announced plans to install solar panels and a solar hot water heater on the roof of the White House residence. These two solar installations will be part of a Department of Energy demonstration project showing that American solar technologies are available, reliable, and ready for installation in homes throughout the country.
President Jimmy Carter actually installed 32 solar panels on the roof of the White House in 1979, signalling his desire to reduce American dependence on imported oil. Unfortunately Ronald Reagan later removed the panels in 1986.
“This project reflects President Obama's strong commitment to US leadership in solar energy and the jobs it will create here at home,” said Secretary Chu.
“President Obama has said the federal government has to lead by example in creating opportunity and jobs in clean energy,” said Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. “By installing solar panels on arguably the most famous house in the country, his residence, the president is underscoring that commitment to lead and the promise and importance of renewable energy in the United States.”
The PV system will convert sunlight directly to electricity. The solar hot water heater will have a solar collector facing the sun that will heat water for use in the White House residence. The Department of Energy will now begin a competitive procurement process to select the company responsible for the installations.
By installing solar panels on their homes, consumers are able to effectively lock in the price of electricity they will pay in the years ahead, acting as an insulator against future rises in electricity prices since the systems installed in homes today are expected to last approximately 30 years.
Financial incentives are also available to offset the initial costs of installing solar energy systems, including a 30% federal tax credit and additional state, local, and utility incentive programmes to encourage the deployment of renewable energy.
As a result of investments under the Recovery Act, the solar energy industry is growing and solar resources can now be seen in communities nationwide. In the coming years, continued investments in innovation and cutting-edge solar technologies will help make solar energy cost-competitive with conventional electricity sources all across the country.
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