Celebrate This Presidents Day with Solar Panels!

Jessica PirroFebruary 14, 202014992

Happy Presidents Day! 

Our leaders have done a lot for the country, and some have even done a lot for the renewable energy sector, which is pretty awesome! Some of the Presidents have even got a solar panel installation, while they were living at the White House!

Let’s take a look back at the Presidents that have promoted solar panels and the 2020 Presidential candidates that are promoting renewable energy. Get ready for a brief history lesson!

The White House and Solar Panels


Most people don’t know this but, the White House has had an on-again, off-again relationship. It all started in June of 1979, when President Jimmy Carter, was an advocate for renewable energy, and he installed 32 solar panels on the White House roof.

When the solar power system was unveiled President Carter said; “In the year 2000, this solar water heater behind me, which is being dedicated today, will still be here supplying cheap, efficient energy.”

This solar panel installation was used to heat the water in the White House staff kitchen. The solar panel installation remained on the rooftop until 1986, under a new Presidency, the solar panels were removed.


The next President to endorse solar power was George W. Bush. President George W. Bush wasn’t as outspoken as Carter was when it came to installing solar panels on the White House during his Presidency. The 43rd President quietly installed a small solar power system on the White House grounds, which included solar panels on the pool cabana to help with the water heating.

Though his support for renewable energy wasn’t as grand as President Jimmy Carter’s solar panel installation, this was still a step in the right direction for solar power! But some citizens and activists wanted to see a more grand gesture and greater action taken for renewable energy.


President Obama was the next President to show his support for solar energy. Within a few months of moving into the White House, President Barack Obama made it very clear that he was interested in improving energy efficiency and wanted to increase the use of renewable energy in the United States.

The 44th President signed an executive order that was aimed at reducing the federal government’s carbon footprint and set a goal of increasing the government’s use of renewable energy to 20 percent by 2020.

But by the fall of 2010, the lack of solar panels at the White House got a lot of attention after environmentalist Bill McKibben led a rally that demanded that President Obama needed to reinstall solar panels. Then in September 2010, a group of Unity College students joined the environmentalist in presenting White House officials with a solar panel from the Carter White House, just to give them a little nudge. These solar panels had been heating water for the dining hall at Unity College in Maine. The White House initially declined the request but was reversed a month later when the Secretary of Energy Stephen Chu declared that the White House would install new solar panels by the end of spring of 2011. The had, however, missed the deadline.


The Obama administration decided to reinstate solar panels on the White House would mark the third solar panel installation on the White House grounds. In October 2010 the White House announced that they were going to install solar panels on their rooftop, but August 2013 is when the solar panel installation began.

In August 2013, a White House official announced to the Washington Post that the solar panel installation had begun! The White House didn’t provide the details of the solar company that supplied the solar panels but did note that they were made in America.

Presidential Candidates For Solar Power

With the 2020 Presidential election coming up, the election outcomes might be critical to the future of renewable energy in the United States. The GOP efforts on carbon emissions have been focused on carbon sequestration as opposed to incentives for renewable energy.

Carbon sequestration is highly favored in the fossil fuel industry but is not yet deployable at the commercial level. Most of the Republican plants focus on the free market solution to the current climate contrary to regulating carbon emitters. More recent details on Republican climate plans show more of an emphasis on planting trees, which is a natural method to sequester carbon.

In contrast, the candidates that are leading the democratic party, includes Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, and Amy Klobuchar all have promised to achieve 100 percent renewable energy by 2050 or sooner. But the Democratic contender Michael Bloomberg also released his plan for 100 percent renewable energy. His plan would include extending and expanding both wind and solar energy tax credits while creating new solar incentives for private companies to improve renewable energy technology, which includes battery storage and green hydrogen.

Regardless what the results of the 2020 election, the federal policy might not be the leading indicator in the United States where climate and energy policies have been spurred by certain states and cities. When you take into consideration the popularity of renewable energy in certain states in the U.S. and the falling cost of renewable energy, the expansion of sources of renewable energy expansion will likely remain a major player when it comes to the U.S. energy system in the future, which are encouraged by state and local policies.

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