7 Oct 2010

White House solar panels belong on the South Lawn

Written by Jim Pierobon

The latest chapter in the tug-of-war over whether solar panels should grace the White House compound has President Obama trying to accomplish with PR what now is likely out of reach for him and the nation:  either a carbon tax, a cap ‘n trade program or a national renewable electricity mandate.

So now comes an invite for bidders to supply and install 50 solar panels earmarked for the East (residential) Wing where they could compromise protecting the President and greatly handicap their PR value.  Because promoting solar really is what this about, let’s think first about installing a solar system where the public and photos in the media can capture its enduring energy AND political value:  on the South Lawn.

By one estimate, there is enough usable, visible, shade-free space on the South Lawn for at least a 25 kilowatt solar system.

On the South Lawn (right), you would have a permanent photo opp, from the construction, to the ribbon cutting to every Earth Day and Energy Awareness month (October) to come. And even if Sarah Palin wanted to take them down, as Ronald Reagan did with panels installed by Jimmy Carter, think of the demonstrations that would ensue by environmentalists over such a maneuver.

Yes, designing and installing a ground-mounted solar array would likely be more expensive. Engineers would need to bury cables to carry the electric current into the White House.  This is THE most important residence in the world so we can deal with it. Besides, the South Lawn would accommodate a larger solar array and still leave plenty of room for Easter Egg Hunts.

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