Big Victory! White House Goes Solar!

October 5, 2010

Bill McKibben Congratulates President Obama for Taking the White House Solar Leading up to Sunday’s Global Work Party around the World

Washington, DC — Just in time to give the Global Work Party a White House-sized boost, the Obama administration announced this morning that they are going to put solar panels on the First Family’s living quarters, returning to a tradition begun by president Jimmy Carter and abandoned by Ronald Reagan.

350.org founder Bill McKibben urged President Obama to install his new set of solar panels back on September 10 as part of 350.org’s 10/10/10 Global Work Party, a day when millions of people across the planet will be getting to work on climate solutions.

“The White House did the right thing, and for the right reasons: they listened to the Americans who asked for solar on their roof, and they listened to the scientists and engineers who told them this is the path to the future,” said McKibben. “If it has anything like the effect of the White House garden, it could be a trigger for a wave of solar installations across the country and around the world. Obama’s not the only world leader taking the challenge. Tomorrow Maldivian president Mohammed Nasheed will install panels on his official residence, and on Sunday 7000 communities around the world will engage in similar projects.”

When he dedicated the original set of panels in 1979, President Carter stated:

“In the year 2000 this solar water heater behind me will still be here supplying cheap, efficient energy. A generation from now this solar heater can either be a curiosity, a museum piece, an example of a road not taken, or it can be just a small part of one the greatest and most exciting adventures ever undertaken by the American people.”

In 1986, President Reagan removed the panels and let subsidies for renewable energy expire. A number of the panels were donated to Unity College in the 1990s.

Over 40,000 people signed a letter urging President Obama to install a new set of panels at the campaign’s PutSolarOn.It website. The site provided live updates from the road and a chance for the public to interact with the road trip participants.

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