Obama: White House to install solar panels after all

Washington, D.C., October 6, 2010 – President Barack Obama has agreed to put new solar panels on the White House roof for the first time since 1986.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu said on that by around late May or early June next year workers will put solar panels that convert sunlight into electricity and a solar hot water heater on the roof of the White House.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve had them up there,” Chu said at a clean energy conference at George Washington University.

The White House roof will get an estimated 20 to 50 panels that convert light into power. The systems, which will be put on top of the Obama family’s living quarters, will generate more than double the amount of electricity used by the average home in Washington.

The costs will be revealed once the Department of Energy selects a company to install the systems, but the administration said the systems should save about $3,000 a year in fuel bills.

President Jimmy Carter was the first to put solar panels on the White House roof. Carter unveiled 32 solar thermal panels in 1979.

Ronald Reagan, his Republican successor, then had the solar panels removed during repairs.

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