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Solar on White House

President Jimmy Carter climbs to the roof of the White House to mark the installation of 32 solar panels to heat water for the White House

At the dedication ceremony for the White House solar panels on June 20, 1979, President Carter announces a “new solar strategy,” to reach a goal to obtain 20% of the nation’s energy from renewables by 2000.  He observes, “In the year 2000 this solar water heater behind me, which is being dedicated today, will still be here supplying cheap, efficient energy … A generation from now, this solar heater can either be a curiosity, a museum piece, an example of a road not taken or it can be just a small part of one of the greatest and most exciting adventures ever undertaken by the American people.”* [see 1986]


*Michael J. Graetz, The End of Energy: The Unmaking of America’s Environment, Security, and Independence (Cambridge:  MIT Press, 2011) at 118; David Biello, “Where Did Carter’s White House’s Solar Panels Go?” Scientific American, August 6, 2010,