While President Obama and his family are vacationing, workers began installing solar panels on the roof of the White House, as the President committed to doing nearly three years ago. As some may remember, this isn’t the first time a President has ignored the public’s desire for less spending and lower deficits by moving to solar energy for the first family’s residence. President Carter tried it the first time back in 1979.
President Reagan, actually caring about the peoples’ pocket-book rather than a feel good photo-op, removed those solar panels in 1986 because they were too expensive and didn’t work well.
Little has changed in the intervening years. President Obama’s own Energy Information Agency predicts that electricity from solar cells will still cost nearly five times as much as electricity from conventional sources three years from now. This confirms my analysis of the prospects of solar power from 2011. But when you’re not paying for it, putting solar panels on the White House seems like a great idea. I only hope federal workers, contractors and the public remember this extravagance when the next round of budget cuts and furloughs come around. What’s next? An electric Presidential limousine?