This week, the White House reportedly starting installing solar panels. The panels are supposed to pay themselves off within eight years due to the savings in energy cost. Does this step by the First Family indicate the beginning of a trend, or are average Americans still far from taking this step towards clean solar energy? What do you think?
I guess since the solar panels are being installed on the White House, the average American who pays his or her taxes is taking a small step towards clean solar energy. It just isn't going to change their personal utility bill.
This isn't the first solar panels installed on the White House. This article from Scientific American article by David Biello (8/6/13) gives a little more history to the question: Where Did the Carter White House's Solar Panels Go?
We have solar hot water heating on our house, that are sorely in need of updating. Do we need to get the state China is in, wearing surgical masks due to pollution, to make the change to clean energy?
I read a bit about the Carter solar panels too! Very fascinating. It does set a scary precedent for renewable energy use in the United States. The second part of your response is something I have thought a lot about as well. Will we have to get to the point of nonrenewable energy inconveniencing us before we force ourselves to another option? Does progression only happen as a result of immediate necessity, or is there a way to jumpstart a change towards clean energy solutions?
The solar panel addition to the White House under Carter was a breakthrough at that time, and it was hoped that the industry would catch hold. However, the cost of production, and the engineering prohibited the industry from being maintained.
It really isn't the inconvenience as much as it is the expense. As we all learned even the heavily subsidized solar industry that was selected by the government to help with our unemployment and energy needs went bankrupt.
Today, China has control of solar panel production because of the labor cost variance, but as their wages increase, the manufacturing of panels will hopefully shift to the U.S. The acceptability and development of renewable energy is becoming more and more a topic of conversation . Now if the cost for desalinization and solar panel construction can become more cost-effective, just think how much we can do for the planet.
Monetary incentives in the form of rebates from manufacturers or our utility company for energy-saving appliances, in particular dishwashers, refrigerators, and light bulbs have caused us to change these out at home or work, even when they were working entities.
Supply and demand (oops, I'm talking to a Economics instructor) will bring costs down and encourage a switch to renewable energy options like solar energy panels, at least in sunny climates like Colorado. The Air Force Academy has a whole field of solar panels that will supply energy to the entire base.
Electric cars that are fully deductible on taxes caused us to think about purchasing (there just aren't sufficient charging stations in place yet). Hybrid cars are now frequently seen on the road and have excited many folks interested in reducing air pollution and use of fossil fuels.
Wind turbines are more likely on the plains of the United States and create electricity to store, reducing use of fossil fuels. But companies went under because they were more cheaply manufactured in China. Buy U.S.A. can bring a little patriotic support to bear.
Ultimately we have to get the costs down and yet sustain renewable energy businesses. Americans are innovative and do want to leave a better planet for their grandchildren. Too many are struggling just to put food on the table.
Can President Obama lead by example? I don't know. Did you see where he was buying fried foods while Michelle was promoting her new Let's Move video.
What would cause you to make a big energy-saving purchase at your house?
Great post!! Yes, economic incentives in the form of rebates can entice all of us to put on a special roof, put more insulation in our attics, and buy a more energy efficient appliance. I'm assuming, we all do this wherever possible. But, we are not talking 50% of the population whose income falls below median and the extra cost for purchase doesn't not allow them the luxury of being more prudent. In time, this energy dependence will be solved and we can be good stewards of the earth, but in the meantime, we should learn to conserve.
Living in Texas is such an incentive to put in solar panels, but I can't touch the cost. This state stays hot it seems like forever as does AZ, NM, NV, FL and some other bordering states. I dream about the cool breezes you have in CO, so it is even more admirable that the Air Force Academy made the move. Who owns the property for the Academy? You are military so you should know that answer. I always assumed it was government property. If that's the case, then the solar construction connects the dots.
You are correct, Pati. Starting in 2008 and increasing solar farms again in 2009 and 2011, Denver airport is now one of the largest solar installations in North America. Denver International Airport (DEN), termed a green airport, is planning on adding its fourth solar power array, expected to come online in October 2013.
Hope to see you back in Colorado again! It is a beautiful place.