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Solar Power On the White House

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the red-white-and-green dept.

United States 405

CartaNova writes "The Obama administration has announced plans to install solar panels and a solar hot water heater on the White House. The Carter administration had previously installed a 32-panel solar system at the White House — which was quietly removed during Reagan's tenure in office. Solar hot water and Photovoltaic firms had been campaigning on this issue for some time."

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405 comments

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How does it get any light? (5, Funny)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#33821160)

I've seen the White House on Google Maps and Google Earth and there seems to be some kind of thick cloud obscuring the area. Will they generate any electricity with these things or is it just another feel-good liberal gesture with no real world effect?

Re:How does it get any light? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33821216)

I've seen the White House on Google Maps and Google Earth and there seems to be some kind of thick cloud obscuring the area. Will they generate any electricity with these things or is it just another feel-good liberal gesture with no real world effect?

Haha, but you're out of date [google.com] -- looks quite sunny to me!

Re:How does it get any light? (-1, Offtopic)

zill (1690130) | more than 3 years ago | (#33821266)

Woosh!

Re:How does it get any light? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33821318)

Whoosh right back at you. What part of "haha, but" didn't you understand? Was it the implied "haha, I get that you're referring to the obfuscation of the imagery, but you're out of date because they're no longer obfuscated" or some other part?

Re:How does it get any light? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33822100)

LOL, this is a clear case of double Woosh. I smell the burning karma.

Re:How does it get any light? (1)

ErroneousBee (611028) | more than 3 years ago | (#33822584)

Should Obama install wind turbines too then?

Re:How does it get any light? (1, Informative)

sco08y (615665) | more than 3 years ago | (#33821284)

I've seen the White House on Google Maps and Google Earth and there seems to be some kind of thick cloud obscuring the area. Will they generate any electricity with these things or is it just another feel-good liberal gesture with no real world effect?

It's the East coast, so it's mild compared to southern heat, and not nearly as sunny as Cali, but there are definitely plenty of sunny days.

Re:How does it get any light? (0, Offtopic)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#33821996)

whoosh!

Re:How does it get any light? (0, Flamebait)

sco08y (615665) | more than 3 years ago | (#33822608)

ah, another simpleton who doesn't get my meta-ironic subtletisms...

Re:How does it get any light? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33821308)

Try the "birds eye" aerial view with Bing maps sometime. You will find that the White House view is actually model built inside of Minecraft.

Re:How does it get any light? (1)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 3 years ago | (#33821750)

Of course I instead thought of Warcraft, and wanted to respond: "Zug zug."

Re:How does it get any light? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33822232)

Free Web Counters!. Over 750 fonts!

Web counters!? People still use this shit?!?! It did not look good 25 years ago and it is still pointless crap today.

Re:How does it get any light? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33822280)

Daboo.

Bright lights and warmth.... (1)

seaoneil (1598787) | more than 3 years ago | (#33821176)

...will help us all get through this malaise.

Re:Bright lights and warmth.... (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#33821554)

Which explains why Regan took them down: to work on his tan.

Speaking of... (1)

shawnap (959909) | more than 3 years ago | (#33822024)

For maximum exposure to the sun, they should just be installed directly on John Boehner [google.com] .

Re:Speaking of... (1)

AlecC (512609) | more than 3 years ago | (#33822328)

They should be installed right behind the President, because the sun shines out of his...

solar hot water (5, Informative)

bhcompy (1877290) | more than 3 years ago | (#33821180)

I've had solar hot water at my family's home since the early 80s. Looks kind of weird, like giant lasagna pans on the roof, but I'll be damned if they don't work great and keep the gas bill down. Not sure how much it will help in Washington, but worth it in So Cal, especially with the govt kicking in a large tax credit

Re:solar hot water (5, Informative)

santax (1541065) | more than 3 years ago | (#33821224)

Once I had a job making swimmingpool-installations. We also had the option of using solarpanels for warming the water. Worked great and the people that bought them had way lower operating costs of the pool. It's an investment at first but it's worth it. In Germany solarpower is huge btw. They have a law there that obligates the powercompanies to actually buy the leftover-green power from the citizens back to the network. Really a country-wide win-win.

Re:solar hot water (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33821748)

Here in Australia, the govt rebates and feed in tariffs make solar power very attractive. As an example, my 3kw system cost me $10000AUD (now = $10000USD - woohoo thanks GFC and greedy US finance industry ;) The 68c/kwh feed in tariff which is govt guaranteed for the next 7 years means the system will pay for itself in about 4 years, then provide me with the following 20 years of free power.

Re:solar hot water (3, Informative)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 3 years ago | (#33821874)

For your information, solar subsidies in Germany have been a failure http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/georgemonbiot/2010/mar/11/solar-power-germany-feed-in-tariff [guardian.co.uk] $1 billion per month cost to the German taxpayer and still barely produces 1% of total electricity used in Germany while actually causing a net loss of jobs. Same with Denmark, the "world leader in wind power" (thanks to subsidies by Danish taxpayers) with the highest electricity costs in Europe to show for it. I'm all for renewable energy when and if it starts making economic sense, but not if it means blowing taxpayers money on something just because it sounds green.

Re:solar hot water (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#33822026)

That's photovoltaic power. Photovoltaic cells are rubbish, yes, the conversion efficiency simply isn't good enough yet.

Using panels to heat water is still a very good idea though.

Re:solar hot water (1)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 3 years ago | (#33822568)

As far as I know, pretty much every US state also requires its power companies to buy any consumer-generated power added to the grid.

Germany OTOH forces its power companies to buy solar-generated electricity at a high, above-market fixed rate. This and other massive subsidies to the solar power industry are calculated at anywhere from $60 billion euros to $180 billion euros - a HUGE amount, at least until you consider the $180 billion that's subsidizing Germany's decrepit domestic coal industry.

Re:solar hot water (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33821538)

My sister and her husband have solar hot water in southern Germany which is more northward than Washington. And I can say they work on cloudy days as well. And yes it reduced their gas bill significantly. In addition they isolated their home, which keeps the house cold in summer and warm in winter. And iin future they want to use wood pellets for heating or use a fuel cell for a combination of electricity and heating.

Re:solar hot water (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33821902)

And just think! in 2012, the next prez. will tear them down (claiming some BS about how americans don't "need to sacrifice" or some crap)

The bright side of this is that someone will get a good deal on used solar panels that have hardly been used.

Maybe President Palin will put them up on ebay!

lol (0)

miguelsp (1917030) | more than 3 years ago | (#33821192)

So, they quietly removed it, and now they are installing it again... hum :P A few more millions go away, yay!

Re:lol (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33821226)

Why did Reagan remove them?

Re:lol (3, Informative)

The_mad_linguist (1019680) | more than 3 years ago | (#33821242)

Probably because that generation of solar panels sucked, efficiency-wise, and IIRC several models also lost a large percent of their functionality after a few years.

Re:lol (4, Informative)

fremsley471 (792813) | more than 3 years ago | (#33821426)

Re:lol (3, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#33821584)

The solar heating panels were installed on the roof of the West Wing, but removed during Ronald Reagans presidency in 1986, after the energy crisis and worries about dependence on foreign oil had subsided.

So, basically Regan thought the best way to encourage Americans to go nuts with gasoline again was to take the solar panels down? Huh? Why do it "quietly" then? I'm assuming he thought consumers were too dumb to realize that solar panels were not really an alternative to oil.

Shortsighted for multiple reasons. I mean, surely he didn't think dependence on foreign oil had been solved forever? I guess I shouldn't be surprised, this was Regan after all.

Re:lol (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 3 years ago | (#33821478)

No, a silly and impractical thing was done purely to "send a message" instead of the sensible thing of using them until they stop working. I'm sure you realise it would have cost more to remove them than it would have to just leave them there.

Re:lol (1)

Huzzah! (1548443) | more than 3 years ago | (#33821738)

Probably because that generation of solar panels sucked, efficiency-wise, and IIRC several models also lost a large percent of their functionality after a few years.

Repeat this for every generation of panels referencing the previous generation, and we all know efficient solar panels will be here Very Soon Now.

Re:lol (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33821244)

Because Republicans hate the planet!

Re:lol (1)

masterwit (1800118) | more than 3 years ago | (#33821358)

The planet makes them money. Think of it as a giant chocolate cake. You wouldn't want to just leave it there and have it go to waste now would you?

Re:lol (-1, Troll)

nacturation (646836) | more than 3 years ago | (#33821250)

Why did Reagan remove them?

http://www.lmgtfy.com/?q=reagan+solar+panels [lmgtfy.com]

Re:lol (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33821314)

Please just link Google directly instead of that annoying piece of shit website.

Also, what's with all the retards of the world insisting on "answering" questions by linking lmgtfy? Are you afraid to admit that you also don't know the answer to the question but still want to feel "superior"?

BTW, they were removed during the Reagan administration when they were making repairs to the roof since it wasn't considered cost-effective to replace the panels (although the truthfulness of that could of course be doubted since we're talking about the Reagan administration).

Re:lol (1, Interesting)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 3 years ago | (#33821432)

>>they were removed during the Reagan administration when they were making repairs to the roof since it wasn't considered cost-effective to replace the panels (although the truthfulness of that could of course be doubted since we're talking about the Reagan administration).

I'd trust Reagan more on cost-effectiveness than Obama, whose answer to every question is "YES".

That said, according to a solar website I read today (so take it with a grain of salt) PV panels have come down from $40,000/watt to $5/watt. Though this may be including subsidies that make up half or more of the cost, it's still a good improvement over the '60s. They're also willing to do the installation for free, and sell you power at a 20% discount, so I guess they're putting their money where their mouth is (if it's not a scam).

www.realgoodssolar.com

Re:lol (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 3 years ago | (#33821456)

Also, what's with all the retards of the world insisting on "answering" questions by linking lmgtfy? Are you afraid to admit that you also don't know the answer to the question but still want to feel "superior"?

It's about people being lazy and asking stupid questions. I've commented on this before [slashdot.org] .

Re:lol (1)

sco08y (615665) | more than 3 years ago | (#33822624)

Also, what's with all the retards of the world insisting on "answering" questions by linking lmgtfy? Are you afraid to admit that you also don't know the answer to the question but still want to feel "superior"?

It's about people being lazy and asking stupid questions. I've commented on this before [slashdot.org] .

That's why sites like stackoverflow are nice, since they reward good questions.

Obama (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33821200)

Why am I not surprised, Obama is nothing more than a new Jimmy Carter with a different skin tone.

Why do Americans have problems with solar power? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33821312)

I have both technologies on my roof and both are rather simple and reliable. In Germany most new homes do at least have solar hot water and it's a great feeling that you don't need any natural gas for about half of the year (it would be even greater if it would work for the whole year but then you'd need something like a 20.000 gallon reservoir for hot water which would make it somewhat less simple).

I thought it would fit with the American culture to be proud of modern technology and to be independent. So I can't understand why Americans seem to not like solar power very much?

Re:Why do Americans have problems with solar power (2, Informative)

codepunk (167897) | more than 3 years ago | (#33821382)

Yes there is a extremely good reason we could care less about solar and especially solar electrical power. My electric bill averages about 80 dollars a month, I live in the central part of
the country at that rate it would take about 30 years to reach break even, if I could generate all my electrical needs with a 30k investment. As long as we have plentiful coal resources which
we do electricity is a relatively cheap commodity.

Re:Why do Americans have problems with solar power (4, Insightful)

nacturation (646836) | more than 3 years ago | (#33821492)

Yes there is a extremely good reason we could care less about solar and especially solar electrical power.

I could care more.

Re:Why do Americans have problems with solar power (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33821528)

As long as we have plentiful coal resources which we do electricity is a relatively cheap commodity.

... it's only relatively cheap if you if you ignore the externalities. tally the true cost and it's not as lopsided.

Sure PV is only cost effective if you otherwise would have to run lines out to where you want to go, but solar-thermal hot water heating (and dare I saw wind generation) is already competitive, if not already the better long term investment.

couple it with an inground-thermal mass heat pump (when building a new house), and correct front window aspect, and the long term comparison is not even close.

but of course this is just the broken record replying to trolls.

Re:Why do Americans have problems with solar power (5, Interesting)

feepness (543479) | more than 3 years ago | (#33821386)

Why do Europeans have problems not generalizing about Americans?

I just signed a contract to get solar power installed, and the sales guy said business was booming. His phone didn't stop buzzing the entire time.

Also, our President is getting solar power, if you hadn't heard.

Re:Why do Americans have problems with solar power (0, Troll)

codepunk (167897) | more than 3 years ago | (#33821464)

I am curious, not trying to bust your chops or anything but how can you justify the cost on something that will never pay a return? I cannot see it ever being a good investment at todays prices at least.

Re:Why do Americans have problems with solar power (3, Interesting)

nacturation (646836) | more than 3 years ago | (#33821550)

I am curious, not trying to bust your chops or anything but how can you justify the cost on something that will never pay a return? I cannot see it ever being a good investment at todays prices at least.

Depending on where you live (ie: depends on how much sun you get and the cost of electricity) as well as what government subsidies for solar installations are offered, it is possible to get a loan for solar equipment today and have the savings on your electric bill completely cover the cost of the loan with savings to spare. So you're not actually spending money out of pocket... it pays for itself and then some.

The downside to this approach is that in a few years, solar panels will be even cheaper and more efficient and the resulting loan payment will be even less and you'll be stuck saving less than you could have saved had you waited. In other words, do you want a net savings of $30/month starting today for 20 years, or wait 3 years and have a net savings of $50/month for 20 years?

Re:Why do Americans have problems with solar power (1)

MoeDrippins (769977) | more than 3 years ago | (#33822546)

> as well as what government subsidies for solar installations are offered, it is possible ... So you're not actually spending money out of pocket... it pays for itself and then some.

No, it's money out of everyone else's pocket.

I'm not arguing your main point here; sometimes for the individual it does make economic sense, but only because everyone else is paying for it. If you could get the taxpayers to fund my mortgage, buying a much bigger house than I have would make economic sense too.

That said, sometimes people do this for reasons other than economic. Sadly I can't afford to go solar in a big way, but if I could come *CLOSE* to breaking even in the next decade, I'd probably do it.

Re:Why do Americans have problems with solar power (2, Informative)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 3 years ago | (#33821784)

Solar does pay for itself. Solar water heaters do. Photovoltaics do. As long as you aren't in Alaska or something (and even then, there's a lot of solar because there are more people living off the grid there than anywhere else), they pay for themselves without a problem. Have you been drinking the anti-solar kool-aid? It may not be a "good" investment. But it does pay back.

Re:Why do Americans have problems with solar power (1)

uncanny (954868) | more than 3 years ago | (#33822718)

Kind of like how hybrids never "pay a return" however some people do it for the purpose of being less dependant on oil/coal products.

Actually G W Bush installed solar (4, Insightful)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 3 years ago | (#33821850)

Also, our President is getting solar power, if you hadn't heard.

Apparently the public often misses it when the President installs solar. G W Bush installed solar. From the fans of W at the Huffington Post:
"In 2003, solar photovoltaic panels were installed at the White House. Two smaller solar thermal systems were also installed to heat water: one for landscape maintenance personnel, the other for the presidential pool and spa. The Bush Administration itself never really announced the project."
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/01/27/white-house-solar-panels_n_160575.html [huffingtonpost.com]

Re:Why do Americans have problems with solar power (2, Insightful)

Grismar (840501) | more than 3 years ago | (#33822186)

"Why do Europeans have problems not generalizing about Americans?"

*lol* I don't really have to go and explain what's funny here, right?

Yours, A European.

Re:Why do Americans have problems with solar power (2, Insightful)

Alioth (221270) | more than 3 years ago | (#33822256)

It's probably because there seems to be a hard core of very *loud* Americans who yell (figuratively, online) at the top of their voices about how any renewable power is no good. They also yell loudly about how $INSERT_EFFICIENT_TECHNOLOGY is no good, too. It's almost as if they think being energy inefficient is something to be proud of.

Re:Why do Americans have problems with solar power (1)

wisdom_brewing (557753) | more than 3 years ago | (#33822480)

Thats why they yell instead of talking...

Re:Why do Americans have problems with solar power (1)

internewt (640704) | more than 3 years ago | (#33822646)

It's probably because there seems to be a hard core of very *loud* Americans who yell (figuratively, online) at the top of their voices about how any renewable power is no good. They also yell loudly about how $INSERT_EFFICIENT_TECHNOLOGY is no good, too. It's almost as if they think being energy inefficient is something to be proud of.

They have mod points too:
  (Score:1, Troll)
by Alioth (221270)

Re:Why do Americans have problems with solar power (2, Funny)

hey! (33014) | more than 3 years ago | (#33822606)

Why do Europeans have problems not generalizing about Americans?

Yes, I've often wondered myself why all Europeans have stereotyped views of Americans, damn their brie-eating, lederhosen wearing, cricket-playing hides!

Re:Why do Americans have problems with solar power (4, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#33821420)

I don't think it's "Americans don't like solar power." Most Americans I know (liberals and conservatives) like solar power. It's cool technology, and getting free energy from the sun sounds like such a good deal.

If you hear about Americans objecting to solar power, it's probably objecting to the government subsidies for installing solar panels. Conservatives and Libertarians tend to support the idea that we should focus on making the technology cheaper, then people will install it on their own, rather than subsidizing it.

Re:Why do Americans have problems with solar power (2, Insightful)

oiron (697563) | more than 3 years ago | (#33821564)

Conservatives and Libertarians tend to support the idea that we should focus on making the technology cheaper, then people will install it on their own, rather than subsidizing it.

I think conservatives and libertarians feel that we should do nothing, and that Free Market Jesus will come from the sky and solve all problems in one fell swoop...

Re:Why do Americans have problems with solar power (4, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 3 years ago | (#33821756)

More like, individuals pursuing their own goals will do a better job of allocating resources than a pack of bureaucrats trying to manage the economy. Your characterization of the free market as some kind of miracle betrays your own ignorance.

-jcr

Re:Why do Americans have problems with solar power (4, Insightful)

oiron (697563) | more than 3 years ago | (#33821952)

I don't think of it as a miracle, but it appears that some conservatives and libertarians do. Note that I don't make the claim that socialism (or bureaucratism for that matter) is any better. I just don't think that the whole "free market solves all" method is going to work in every case.

It makes individual sense to do a lot of things that are detrimental to human society, or even local society as a whole. In some cases, it is better to regulate the cost of a particular resource to reflect the actual societal cost of its extraction or use. That's something the "free" market is horrible at.

Re:Why do Americans have problems with solar power (0, Flamebait)

Bemopolis (698691) | more than 3 years ago | (#33821762)

As He sayeth in the Good Book: Galt 3:16 "Yea verily, I was amortized for your sin taxes..."

Re:Why do Americans have problems with solar power (3, Insightful)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 3 years ago | (#33821772)

I think liberals feel that we should do nothing, and that Government Jesus will come from the sky and solve all problems in one fell swoop. Free Market Jesus has a hell of a lot better track record than Government Jesus when it comes to solving problems, and without sacrificing liberty too.

Re:Why do Americans have problems with solar power (3, Insightful)

oiron (697563) | more than 3 years ago | (#33821968)

Neither "Jesus" seems to have much of a track record individually - it's only when the two work together, complimenting their skills and covering up their weaknesses that things happen. Both extreme socialists (ie communists) and conservatives don't seem to get this.

Re:Why do Americans have problems with solar power (2, Insightful)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 3 years ago | (#33822174)

Can you be more specific? What are the weaknesses of the free market where the government should step in? I think pretty standard libertarian beliefs involve government acting only as an umpire, providing laws, police, military, legislature, courts, that sort of thing. Essentially it all boils down to protecting individual liberty by removing the use of physical force from the society. I must be one of those extreme conservatives you speak off because I can't think of too many other valid uses for the government. Can you give me some examples?

Re:Why do Americans have problems with solar power (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33822324)

What are the weaknesses of the free market where the government should step in?

Sub-prime mortgages? Derivatives-build-from-derivatives ad nauseum? Rings any bell?

Healthcare. Firefighting. Police. Armies. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33822436)

Healthcare. Firefighting. Police. Armies. Roads. Power. Water. Un-Pollution. Safety (melanin in your babyfood?).

Plenty more.

Re:Why do Americans have problems with solar power (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33822484)

providing laws, police, military, legislature, courts,

Here is part of the answer. The meaning of "government step-in" appears to be different to different people. For some the acts of creating and framing, that is, legislating a market is too much government involvement. For others they are essential guarantees for working, free markets. Some Americans do tend to think quite black-and-white about the issue which can be seen from the caricatural usage of Jesus metaphors.

Re:Why do Americans have problems with solar power (2, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#33821620)

The only ones I've heard object for political reasons are the far-right. Not just the regular conservatives, but those towards the fringe - and they only oppose solar because it's a 'liberal thing,' and thus must be evil.

Re:Why do Americans have problems with solar power (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33821778)

The evil is the government subsidies.

Re:Why do Americans have problems with solar power (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33822136)

Most Americans I know (liberals and conservatives) like solar power. It's cool technology, and getting free energy from the sun sounds like such a good deal.

Oh, but I thought Americans dislike people getting things for free, it is so communistic! I mean, look above, president Reagan removed solar panels from White House, he couldn't stand that god-awful commie/hippie contraption. How would honest hard working, God-fearing American power producers survive if everyone was getting energy for free? G. Westinghouse would certainly agree with my argument.

Re:Why do Americans have problems with solar power (1)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 3 years ago | (#33821774)

We're really just thinking of the poor. Basically, if people are using less energy from the power companies, their profits will go down. Since they are publicly owned (i.e. they have shareholders, not that they're owned by the govt), profit is the primary goal. As such, they will raise rates for those who are still dependent on their systems because they can't afford solar power.

Basically, solar power is a liberal elite technology for oppressing the poor. Of course, as always, they *claim* it's just the opposite.

Re:Why do Americans have problems with solar power (1)

Dancindan84 (1056246) | more than 3 years ago | (#33822588)

My wife and I were talking about something similar yesterday: How the only people who can afford hybrids and electrics that save a ton of money on gas are the people who have enough money that the price of gas isn't really hurting them.

That said, correlation definitely does not imply causation here. The price is high because the technology being new. As they find ways to make it more efficient and more easily mass produced, the benefits will get to the point where more middle class people can afford it. We're already seeing that with PV solar to some extent. The fact that it benefits the rich who can afford it more in the short term is a result of that cost of developing new technology, not some kind of monetary caste system in effect to keep the poor down. In fact, the rich people buying the technology now will help pay for the development that gets the price down to where other people can afford it more quickly. So you could actually argue the opposite, that the rich are subsidizing the development of these technologies.

No payback (4, Funny)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 3 years ago | (#33821324)

The energy saved by the installation will be more than made up for by the amount of energy expended in proclaiming how green the White House is.

Re:No payback (1, Insightful)

NixieBunny (859050) | more than 3 years ago | (#33821356)

Yeah, the amount of power used in any commercial or government building is astonishing when illustrated by the size of the solar array needed to generate it. A local (Tucson) solar panel factory installed a system big enough to power one shift of production - it dwarfed the factory building and parking lot.

Re:No payback (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33821484)

The proclamation does not cost any extra energy, as they have a fixed budget and when they run around telling everyone how green they are, they cannot run around and tell some other dipshit.

Re:No payback (1)

Huzzah! (1548443) | more than 3 years ago | (#33821798)

What's more natural than producing AC in DC?

Green House effect (1)

BuGless (31232) | more than 3 years ago | (#33821848)

If I understand correctly, we'll then be able to determine the White House effect on the green house effect?

Re:No payback (5, Funny)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 3 years ago | (#33821872)

Actually its not solar power. They're putting Sterling Engines on the roof of the Whitehouse running off the differential of heat between the atmosphere and the hot air rising to the roof.

Can that squirrel waterski?!?! (2, Insightful)

masterwit (1800118) | more than 3 years ago | (#33821346)

I could make a cynical remark in AC about some political bias this or that...but honestly I don't think it fits here.

With this economy, green technology today is not the extent of the "green-washing" we saw during the housing bubble in 2006. I believe in many ways that a good portion of what we dub "green technology" today is rather fiscally smart investments - good for our pocket and the environment. There should be no contest to what decision Obama may have pushed...hell this is like voting to reduce the volume on commercials: it is something which just about everyone agrees.

Re:Can that squirrel waterski?!?! (2, Insightful)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 3 years ago | (#33822498)

Lots of things that are smart investments if you're building a home from scratch are not so great if you're talking about replacing a working system. Almost nobody will pay more for a house just because it has better efficiency that will save $1000/year on utility bills, so the payback horizon is often much longer than people intend to own the house for.

Is this wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33821378)

I knew it obama is turning into the black house. one solar cell at a time.

Reagan did not remove PV panels AFAIK (5, Informative)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 3 years ago | (#33821388)

He removed solar thermal panels, probably much less efficient than the evacuated tubes used today, when the roof was being repaired in 1986:
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9A0DE2DF113BF937A1575BC0A960948260 [nytimes.com]

They were not reinstalled because of cost effectiveness issue. I also heard maintenance was a pain. They were donated to a university, IIRC.

Bush also had solar panels installed:
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/02/27/technology/how-it-works-from-a-white-house-roof-solar-power-proclaims-gains.html [nytimes.com]

Many places are spinning this story politically no doubt.

BTW, I think solar thermal and more insulation is a great, cost effective thing. PV, otoh, not so much yet.

Re:Reagan did not remove PV panels AFAIK (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#33821474)

Bush also had solar panels installed.......Many places are spinning this story politically no doubt.

All the political spin I've seen has been, "more evidence that Obama is like Carter." So are you saying Bush is like Carter too? Interesting......I suppose you could make a case.

Re:Reagan did not remove PV panels AFAIK (3, Insightful)

konohitowa (220547) | more than 3 years ago | (#33821568)

I suspect it's mostly a reference to the summary, which used coloring words such as "quietly" in regard to Reagan while simultaneously omitting any mention of Bush.

Re:Reagan did not remove PV panels AFAIK (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 3 years ago | (#33821648)

All the political spin I've seen has been, "more evidence that Obama is like Carter." So are you saying Bush is like Carter too? Interesting......I suppose you could make a case.

No, I seen this issue multiple times today (/. not being the first at this story, by far) and it's used to paint a mostly "Republicans bad, Democrats good" picture.

I think Carter was a good man, advanced on some issues for his time, naive on foreign policy, that was handed a shit-fest when he came into the white house, did a lot of thankless but necessary domestic work, and gets a lot of blame for things beyond his control and doing. He also did some things with bad consequences but not the amount people attribute to him.

Obama is too early to tell, but on some days I'm tempted to call this Bush's 3rd term -- with Healthcare being analogous to Bush's Medicare Part D payoff to the drug/healthcare industry and the two wars still going on.

They burned more energy (0)

codepunk (167897) | more than 3 years ago | (#33821552)

Just proclaiming that they are adding solar panels to the white house probably burned more energy than they will ever produce. Think of the 10's of thousands of servers, laptops, routers, desktops, storage space, backup tapes, man hours, gasoline, blogs, new sites, images etc involved in this story about the white house is going green.

Re:They burned more energy (1)

oiron (697563) | more than 3 years ago | (#33821582)

All of which would have probably been devoted to lolcats and pr0n anyway, so not such a big loss...

Re:They burned more energy (2, Insightful)

kiddygrinder (605598) | more than 3 years ago | (#33821604)

that's retarded, all of those resources already exist expressly for carrying new stories. if this story hadn't happened those time and resources would have been taken up with funny cat videos or something.

Re:They burned more energy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33822344)

Just proclaiming that they are adding solar panels to the white house probably burned more energy than they will ever produce. Think of the 10's of thousands of servers, laptops, routers, desktops, storage space, backup tapes, man hours, gasoline, blogs, new sites, images etc involved in this story about the white house is going green.

So... I invite you to be energy conscientious and switch of your computer... don't contribute any more to the energy waste. (I guess I can go a further step... let's try)... Please don't contribute anymore to anything today.

Re:They burned more energy (1)

balaband (1286038) | more than 3 years ago | (#33822576)

It is not the fact that they are going to save some energy, it is more of a sign for others to go green.

Obligatory (1)

Huzzah! (1548443) | more than 3 years ago | (#33821754)

They should have installed wind towers instead, with all the hot air originating in DC!

asterisk (1)

pkbarbiedoll (851110) | more than 3 years ago | (#33821806)

with panels made in China. Uniquely American!

Cost of story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33821886)

Suppose the White House consumes around 200kW. If one million Slashdotters spend 5 minutes reading about this story on systems consuming 50W each, they will expend about as much energy as the White House does in a month.

That's not counting energy for Slashdot servers and other internet infrastructure (ha ha [google.com] ). And not counting the energy the administration consumed in coming to this decision and putting together their press release. And energy spent by news writers, bloggers, TV news, print newspapers, ...

All this thinking is making me hungry. Hang on while I go eat a hamburger [bicycleuniverse.info] .

"This message will cost the net hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars to post to all machines. Are you sure you want to do this?"

So, does this make it... (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 3 years ago | (#33821906)

... The Green House?

Take it away, Jim! [youtube.com]

Solar water heater makes good sense (2, Interesting)

bhaktha (1462779) | more than 3 years ago | (#33821922)

Politics aside, this is a great symbolic gesture by the White House. Hopefully the publicity will make a few people think of installing a solar water heater and be kind to Mother earth. Understand that this technology might not be applicable for all parts of the world, but there is significant portion of the world where the solar water heater makes eminent sense. Currently I live in Bangalore, India. I have a solar water installed in my house with a 300 liters storage volume. It works for 95% of the year flawlessly supplying hot water for the whole family. On the rare days, when the water temp is not hot enough (it is never colder than ambient temperature), we have a valve in the bathrooms which will route the hot water thru a electric heater. According to my calculation we need to spend about 1000 rupees in electricity charges per month for going completely electrical water heating. The unit cost me about 50 K rupees to buy and install. So it makes good economic sense to me and hot water is always available. BTW it is estimated that we really need one hour of good sunshine (post noon, because the solar panels are facing SW direction) to heat up the water. These are really popular in India, wish it was adopted more than the extant situation. The city is planning on making this mandatory for all new houses. I was actually planning to install PV's to generate all the electricity needed for our family (BTW based on the past 15 months consumption data, we consume ~ 250 KWh per month). Spoke to a few poeple, did the math, PV's are still economically not feasible. If anyone has any solid data or leads let me know, I will certainly be interested in knowing more. Additional data: I have a UPS installed in the house (rated at 5 KVA, with four 12V 120AH batteries, which I believe can store approx 8 KWh of energy) which should be enough supply the house in the night times. So ideally with the right PV's (which can generate about 10 KWh per day with a few hours of sunshine) I can completely go off the grid and tap into the grid only on emergencies or when we have unusuall

2012: President Palin removes solar panels (0, Troll)

acb (2797) | more than 3 years ago | (#33822086)

Didn't Jimmy Carter install solar panels on the Whitehouse roof, only to have Reagan remove them for ideological reasons immediately after his inauguration? (Or was that Clinton and Bush II?)

Re:2012: President Palin removes solar panels (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33822510)

Didn't Jimmy Carter install solar panels on the Whitehouse roof, only to have Reagan remove them for ideological reasons immediately after his inauguration? (Or was that Clinton and Bush II?)

Don't you feel stupid for posting that blindly partisan crap just a few seconds after this:

He removed solar thermal panels, probably much less efficient than the evacuated tubes used today, when the roof was being repaired in 1986:
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9A0DE2DF113BF937A1575BC0A960948260 [nytimes.com]

They were not reinstalled because of cost effectiveness issue. I also heard maintenance was a pain. They were donated to a university, IIRC.

Bush also had solar panels installed:
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/02/27/technology/how-it-works-from-a-white-house-roof-solar-power-proclaims-gains.html [nytimes.com]

Many places are spinning this story politically no doubt.

BTW, I think solar thermal and more insulation is a great, cost effective thing. PV, otoh, not so much yet.

Funny how you didn't seem to know that George W. Bush actually installed solar panels.

But that would fuck up the "Obama is the GREATEST" narrative, now wouldn't it. As if endemic 10% unemployment isn't enough - I guess we have to dig deep for Obama's positives, eh? Like tout the Obamessiah for doing the same thing that was ignored when George W. Bush did it.

4 words (1)

balaband (1286038) | more than 3 years ago | (#33822504)

Solar powered red button!

Obama: "Damnit, I will nuke the sh!t out of these South Koreans*, just when this cloud moves...."

solar & wind power (5, Insightful)

Max_W (812974) | more than 3 years ago | (#33822702)

The most effective solar and wind power device is drying clothing outside. It not only saves electricity, but actually cooling down an environment.

The problem is that it may look unaesthetic, unless a nice looking dryer is invented. Meanwhile drying clothing in the air is forbidden in many districts and even entire cities.

The effectiveness of drying is 100%. No energy is being lost. And the volume is enormous, - billions of people wash and dry clothing everyday.

Production of dryers does not involve any toxic material and is not expensive. But if clothing is dried in electrical driers then a lot, a lot of electrical energy is being used.

I would argue that the problem of global warming would be solved, if drying outdoors would be not forbidden, but promoted. Of course, after an invention of a aesthetic outdoor drier.

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