Solar panels to be installed at White House

Charles Eadie

Friday, President Obama will promote his record on energy efficiency by promoting several initiatives he claims will take hold across the country. Specifically one very close to home.

After years of delay, solar panels will finally be installed on the first family’s White House home according to aides. Obama will make the announcement at a speech in Mountain View, California on Friday. The solar panels come after a nearly four year promise to focus the renewable energy source movement to the most famous roof in the country.  (President Carter had solar panels installed there, but President Reagan had them taken down in 1986.)

Obamas plan comes after an announcement in October 2010 which pushed for a lead-by-example movement to push for a boost in solar energy practices. The idea, which sounded simple enough, proved to come with several complications related to the historic blueprints and secrecy of the building.

Installation of the solar panels got underway in August. In addition to the panels being American made, they are capable of 6.3 kilowatts of solar generation. The White House has other energy-saving equipment, including updated building controls and variable-speed fans.

The announcement was one of several coming on Friday as Obama interrupts a fundraising blitz in California to highlight his second-term push on the environment. The president was due to speak at a Wal-Mart, one of several companies that has agreed to boost its use of solar power.

The announcements will wrap up a week of environmental messages coming from the Obama administration and Democratic allies in Congress. Tuesday the White House released the National Climate Assessment, a report four years in the making explaining the effects of climate change in the U.S. The administration also sponsored a conference on constructing more energy-efficient buildings this week, while Democrats in the Senate took up greener legislation likely to be shot down by Republican opposition.

With little chance of moving any major legislation through the divided Congress, Obama has vowed to use his office to work around lawmakers on an issue he claimed would be near the top of his second-term agenda.

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