Hey, George W. Bush Put Solar Panels on the White House, Too

Many people don't seem to remember that George W. Bush was the first president to put solar electric panels on the White House. That may be because the solar panels Jimmy Carter installed on the White House are (rightly) far more famous, symbolic as they were of Carter's symbolic effort to stimulate alternative energy.

But the curious memory lapse could also stem from the value right-wing media concerns see in linking Obama with Carter, as MediaMatters points out.

So, in the interest of an accurate historical record, and thanks to Google News Archive -- allow me to reintroduce the Bush solar panels back into the discussion.

A January 23, 2003 story by the trade journal GovPro explains:

The Bush administration has installed the first-ever solar electric system on the grounds of the White House. The National Park Service, which manages the White House complex, installed a nine kilowatt, rooftop solar electric or photovoltaic system, as well as two solar thermal systems that heat water used on the premises.

"We believe in these technologies, and they've been working for us very successfully," said James Doherty, the architect and project manager at the National Park Service Office for White House Liaison. "The National Park Service as a whole has long been interested in both sustainable design and renewable energy sources. We also have a mission to lower our energy consumption at all our sites, and we saw an opportunity to do both at the White House grounds."

Solar Design Associates designed and oversaw the installation, which was placed on the roof of the main building used for White House grounds maintenance. The PV system feeds solar generated power into the White House grounds' distribution system, providing electricity wherever it is needed.

Perhaps it would also make sense to note, while we're on energy and environmental history, that it was Richard Nixon who signed the Clean Air and Endangered Species Acts. That one cuts both ways, doesn't it?

Hat tip: Andy Revkin

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