Silicon Valley Energy Chronicles: A Solar White House?

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Getty Images
    Schwarzenegger announced recently that solar panel use in the state had produced nearly twice as much energy in 2008 as it did in 2007. (Photo by China Photos/Getty Images)

    Will a Silicon Valley solar company be responsible for putting solar panels on the White House? Will we ever see solar panels on the White House again?

    Those questions occur when one reads the story of Jimmy Carter and his White House solar panels on ConsumerEnergyReport.com.

    The story goes that Carter put the panels up in an effort to show America was weaning itself off of foreign oil. Reagan took office and all that went away.

    This is a clip that can be found on YouTube about the panels:

    Unfortunately, Carter prophetically states that the panels symbolized a "road not taken."

    However, as the article points out, the place technically does have solar panels right now:

    "To be sure, the White House actually does have solar panels currently in use. Though installed under the radar without much fanfare, under the Bush administration three different solar installations were completed  in 2002. Two of them – one which feeds electricity into the White House grid, the other to heat water for landscaping usage – were erected on the National Park Service maintenance building located in the southwest corner of the estate. The third one was installed on the White House cabana and feeds electricity to the cabana and outdoor swimming pool which is situated nearby."

    President Obama is talking a big game about alternative energy. One of the first things he did after taking office was to praise California and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for leading the way on toughening California's auto emissions standards.

    This comes as Schwarzenegger announced recently that solar panel use in the state had produced nearly twice as much energy in 2008 as it did in 2007.

    Although some solar panels exist on the White House grounds, it should be interesting to see if Obama announces more wide-ranging solar panel projects there -- and whether or not Silicon Valley has a hand in laying down the panels.