A group of solar energy activists from Unity College in the US plan to take their campaign for a renewable future on the road – with an unusual travelling companion: one of the original 41 solar panels President Jimmy Carter installed on the White House roof in 1979.
The "Put Solar On It" road trip is the brainchild of Bill McKibbon, founder of climate change awareness website 350.org, and is part of that group’s challenge to President Barack Obama to put solar back on the White House.
In 1986 President Ronald Reagan had Carter’s solar energy system – which was used for heating water – dismantled and also removed government incentives for renewable energy projects. The 350.org group say they are taking part of that good idea home.
"We wasted 31 years when we could, across America, have been using the sun’s heat," said McKibben. "We wasted our technological lead in the most important industry of the future, and handed it instead to countries like China. Now’s the moment to start catching up."
McKibbon says he wants President Obama to install a new set of solar panels on October 10 as part of 350.org’s 10/10/10 Global Work Party, a day when they claim millions of people across the planet will be getting to work on climate solutions. Over 30,000 people have petitioned the US government on the PutSolarOn.It website.
"Solar panels on the White House will remind every visitor to Washington that every roof in America should have solar panels for electricity and hot water on them," said McKibben. "The President’s panels will do as much good as the wonderful organic garden that the First Lady planted on the South Lawn," McKibbon said.