One of the promises made by the President in his first term was to put solar on the White House. I met him at the Rose Garden back in 2009 and he said “let’s do that” when we first proposed he “go solar” in his first family’s new home.
Then “his people” looked into it, agreed it could be done and that it would save taxpayers money. So in 2010, Stephen Chu, Secretary of Energy, said that the DoE would organize it, but since then, very little has happened and the White House rooftop is still sans solar panels.
It’s not that it would be hard and they could be leased with no deposit. But rather than just doing it, there’s been a saga of ineffectiveness (here’s a piece describing efforts to get solar back on the White House) except for the latest video news that the first dog, Bo Obama, has gone solar. It appears Bo held his inauguration celebrations with solar power (disclosure: I work for the folk that helped make this happen)!
Well, now is the time for Mr Obama to live up to the hope and install solar. Early in this term, the President is going to set the frame for his legacy. Lincoln recognized that completing the Capitol Dome would send a signal to the nation and the world about a strong United States. So too, going solar on the White House would send a signal that would be heard not only throughout the nation and the world.
Not doing so would be to signal the opposite: “I won’t choose climate solutions”. President Obama used his inauguration to say, “we will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.” And he acknowledged “the path towards sustainable energy will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition; we must lead it.”
Mr. President – The best way to find that path is to make it. And the best way to lead is to lead by example.
Take the first step from your home, sir. It is time for deeds not words. Bo certainly gets it and deep down, we know you do too. Please put clean, green, job-creating, money-saving solar power on your house, the people’s house. As the leader of the United States of America, it’s the right thing for you to do.
Congratulations on another four years in office and please extend our thanks to Bo for a great party.