White House is no stranger to solar energy generation, but it hasn't seen solar panels on its rooftop since the 1980s. That will change by next spring, when the First Family will begin to receive solar electricity and solar-heated water from a new solar system that also showcase American solar technology.

Energy Secretary Steve Chu announced the solar project in a blog post Tuesday. He noted that the government has invested heavily in developing and installing solar energy systems nationwide, so it's about time for a project to demonstrate some technical achievements in the field.

"The project will show that American solar technology is available, reliable, and ready to install in homes throughout the country," Chu wrote.

Solar Power, from Carter to Bush

The last time solar panels lined the White House roof was when Jimmy Carter was president. The panels were used to heat water for the White House kitchen, rather than generating electricity, according to the Smithsonian. President Ronald Reagan removed the panels during his administration.

The next president to embrace solar was George W. Bush, who installed three electric and heating systems without much fanfare. The panels were placed on the roof of a maintenance building on the White House grounds, but not on the mansion itself. The solar electric system featured silicon solar panels from Evergreen Solar (ESLR) in Massachusetts.

Installing solar panels on the White House has been a cause célèbre for solar energy advocates. President Obama faced growing pressure from, among others, the Solar Energy Industries Association and 350.org, an advocacy group that focuses on global warming issues. Author Bill McKibben, part of 350.org, went on the David Letterman show to promote the group's effort to get Obama to install solar.

Breaking Ground on a New Industry

Obama has positioned himself as a champion for solar power, and he has showed up at groundbreaking ceremonies across the country to tout new solar energy equipment factories or solar power plants. The government has given a $535 million loan to Solyndra, a solar panel maker in California, to build a factory near its headquarters. BrightSource Energy in Oakland, Calif., will also receive a $1.37 billion loan to build a solar power plant in California that will use mirrors to collect and heat water for generating steam, which in turn runs generators that produce electricity.

The Department of Energy, which is responsible for promoting and funding solar technology development, also has been installing solar, including a recent, 1.6-megawatt system at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado.

The U.S. Department of Energy will select the solar energy systems through a competitive process, said spokeswoman Jen Stutsman. The system to generate solar electricity could range from 5-kilowatt to 15-kilowatt. (For compairson's sake, a single-family home in states such as California typically sports a 3- to 5-kilowatt system.) Stutsman said the solar water heating system could cover 150 square feet of the White House roof.

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chrissf4529

I guess the "funniest" thing about all of the subsidies and funding for "green" was supposed to create new jobs. In Fremont calif. one company was given $500 mill. to build a new plant to produce solar panels. End result new plant was built and 40 people were "laid off'.So much for work force's created by green investment.

December 04 2010 at 2:24 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Wayne

You keep hearing of Bidens wife doing things like Breast cancer awareness, but you don't see Obama's wife doing anything. Whats up with that. Oh thats right, she is going for the free ride and seeing how much money she can spend on herself and the tribe at our cost.

October 07 2010 at 8:00 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Wayne

Thats right just keep pissing away the money that you don't have. Damn its so easy to spend other peoples money. Come on November

October 07 2010 at 7:56 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
alfredschrader

I have a carbon toe print. Sorry, it's all I can afford. In the 1970's I was the King of Solar. But, no matter what I perfected I was always de-throned by clouds. Since then I discoved what actually makes the sun incandescent. It's not nuclear reactions, it's gravity. THere is so much pressure on the sun that the atoms grind together & decompose back into light. This is the formula: E = MC 2 I've actually done this in my lab. It's way cooler than cold fusion....Alfred-

October 07 2010 at 4:55 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Debbie Penland !

REMEMBER THIS WONDERFUL "NEWS" FROM THIS PRESIDENT AS YOU GO TO PICK UP THE "FOOD STAMPS" AND HOPEFULLY, AN "UNEMPLOYMENT CHECK" HE AND "H-I-S CONGRESS" HAVE BEEN S-O-O "HAPPY TO PROVIDE FOR Y-O-U AND YOUR F-A-M-I-L-I-E-S" OUT OF THE GOODNESS OF THEIR E-V-I-L HEARTS!!! HE HAS BEEN THE "BIGGEST JOKE (ALONG WITH H-I-S CONGRESS)OF THE CENTURY"!!! AMERICANS ARE H-U-R-T-I-N-G SO BADLY...IT IS NOT LETTING UP AT A-L-L AND HE IS EITHER "SPENDING LIKE A CRAZED F-O-O-L"...OR "PLAYING GOLF/VACATIONING"...ECONOMICALLY, WE M-A-Y NOT BE IN A "DEPRESSION"...BUT ALL I AM SEEING IS "DEPRESSED AMERICANS"...AND IT H-U-R-T-S...TO THE C-O-R-E!!!

October 07 2010 at 1:05 AM Report abuse +8 rate up rate down Reply
ronsjigslures123

Its not only roofs that these things will be on, they are building solor farms in many country,s where thousands of acres will have solor panels on them covering the ground, and they are building more of these each year, before you know it there will be millions of acres of land covered with these things and little uv, or sun rays % absorbed into the earth, wher its been doing it for the past 150 million years or so. These panels will just kill the earth over time, and the weather also.

October 07 2010 at 1:04 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ronsjigslures123's comment
patriotpix

...and then they can say, see we were right about global warming...

October 07 2010 at 1:40 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
ronsjigslures123

Back when they were testing nuke bombs, our so called goverment set of hundreds of nuke explosions in the deserts of the west, then tested who knows how many under the oceans. Heck it will be alright they thought, well guess what you would have to be a idiot to know it didn,t do harm to the atmosphere and nature .. in those few short years they changed the worlds air and atmosphere,temature, and oceans for ever, other countys like Russia also tested who knows how many. This solar energy will be the same .. changing the way things HAVE to be done to keep earth alive and well for millions of years to come. Change it and we will pay with our lives. People are idiots, they were GIVEN a planet with everything on it to keep aperson alive untile they were 140 years old or more, and what do they do in the name of science and SAVE MONEY distory it.

October 07 2010 at 12:55 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
Madeleine

You mean Obama is still going to be in the whitehouse next year? So lets see, 11 billion to the UN , 1.37 billion for solar panels, 535 billion to solyndra and a whole bunc fo techmology to generate heat and water to turn in to steam., well that sounds like its really worth it, yes most people could live with that if they could pay their motgages and even their rent, its nice to know our money is going for a good cause, paying off china would be a better cause but what do I know. How long are we going ot put up with this, thats all I want to know, right now i feell like kicking in his door and dragging him out of the wwhite house by his chicken geek neck and beating him over the head with my Chinese made shoe, unfortunately like all Chicese crappy shoes they have a rubber sole so maybe someone could lend me a golf shoe, something with cleats on it to use instead.

October 07 2010 at 12:51 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
ronsjigslures123

The suns rays are not ment to be absorbed into some kind of panels, its ment to absorbed into the earth. You turn 80% of the worlds buildings and roofs into solor panels than all you will do is distory the earth faster than it already is. With out the earths % of sun ray absortion than it will make the ozone layer disaster look like a childs tea party. Everthing that the nature does is for a reason move it around and you will make it worst and change it into something else. Solor panels on every house TALK about a carbon HUGE big foot foot print.

October 07 2010 at 12:43 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ronsjigslures123's comment
chrissf4529

I guess you missed remedial science class. Solar panels do not "steal " away solar energy.

December 04 2010 at 2:30 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
The Partz Co.

Something else Obama has shoved down our throats.. Let the government pay to put it on our house then I might be happy..

October 07 2010 at 12:26 AM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply