White House Installs And Turns On New Solar Panels

Giuseppe Macri Tech Editor
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As part of President Obama’s new initiative to boost renewable energy programs in the public and private sectors, the White House announced Friday that its new set of solar panels are up and running.

The administration agreed to install the panels in 2010 to appease climate advocates, and Friday’s announcement marks the first time the White House has generated its own power since 1986 when President Reagan dismantled the panels Jimmy Carter had installed in 1979, Mashable reports.

With a generation rate of 6.3 kilowatts, the system installed on the White House roof cranks out enough power for “the typical size for the average American house,” White House staff member James Doherty said in a video on the White House website.

While that isn’t enough juice alone to power the home/office/fortress that is the president’s residence, security concerns prevented the installation of a larger system.

Obama delivered another Friday announcement at a solar powered Wal-Mart in Mountain View, Calif. detailing more than 300 commitments to advance and deploy solar energy projects and measures across the U.S. — a follow up to the administration’s “Climate Action Plan” announced last summer.

Those measures include new energy efficiency standards for equipment like industrial assembly line electric motors and appliances like coolers and freezers.

Businesses including Apple and Wal-Mart are already on board – the leading U.S. retailer plans to double solar installation in domestic stores and warehouses by 2020. The Silicon Valley giant already powers all of its data centers with green energy like solar, and plans to do the same when building its new 2.8 million-square-foot headquarters.

The White House endeavor is designed largely to bypass Congress, and if all goes as planned, the administration reports it will cut carbon pollution by more than 380-million metric tons — with new standards alone accounting for a reduction of 160-million metric tons by 2030.

The former number would be the pollution-reduction equivalent of 80 million fewer cars on the road every year, and save businesses almost $26 billion in energy bills.

Solar panels have dropped in price by 60 percent since 2011, and solar power installation has multiplied 11 times since from 1.2 gigawatts in 2008 to a White House-estimated 13 gigawatts.

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