Put Jimmy Carter's Solar Panels Back on White House
Obama can make an important symbolic gesture
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Sep 10, 2010 1:10 PM CDT
A file photo of solar photovoltaic panels, though these are more modern versions of Jimmy Carter's.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – A group of environmentalists has spent the past week carting a relic back to the White House—one of the solar panels Jimmy Carter installed on the roof in 1979. And President Obama should stick it back up there, along with more modern ones, as an important public gesture—and as a way to make "symbolic amends" for the failure of climate legislation, writes Bill McKibben of the group 350.org.

"We wasted three decades when, across America, we could have been using the sun's power instead of coal to heat our water," he writes in the Washington Post. "We wasted our technological lead in the most important industry of the future and handed it to countries like China. As scientists tell us with increasing fervor, we're laying waste to the planet's climate. Now is the moment to go back to the future."

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Sep 11, 2010 11:57 AM CDT
Solar panel on the White House; an excellent idea. And an equally excellent gesture of support for alternative energy and American ingenuity.
Sep 10, 2010 8:59 PM CDT
I don't care about inflation, the 444 days, Billy Carter or the "malaise" of the Carter administration... ...but I'll never forgive him for that summer when he suggested we not lower cooling temperatures below ...I don't remember what ridiculously high number, in a misguided attempt to save energy ...and I sweated uncontrollably in Stapleton Int'l. Airport in Denver in 1977.
Sep 10, 2010 7:31 PM CDT
Jimmy Carter's solar program was a tax credit basically just for hot water heaters (because pv was not yet viable except to power temporary road signs). What killed it was the installers. If a system might normally cost $2000, they would charge you $10k, put a little sign on it and pay you $8k for "advertising". Your tax break was based on the full $10k. So a lot of homeowners got free systems or even made a profit off the government going solar. By the time the scam became common knowledge, the Carter White House was under seige by the hostage crisis and Walter Kronkite counting off the days. The loophole wasn't plugged. Reagan unplugged the whole program.