White House Solar Installation Symbolic of Solar Energy Push

Nicolas Loris /

President Obama is channeling his inner Jimmy Carter again.

In 1979, President Carter had solar panels installed on the roof of the White House, and they were taken down in the Reagan Administration during roof repairs. Today, the White House announced that that Obama Administration will use taxpayer dollars to build solar panels and a solar hot water heater on the roof of the White House in the spring of 2011.

It’s an easy decision to make when you’re not the one paying for it. The government’s Energy Information Agency projects that electricity from solar cells will cost nearly five times as much as electricity from natural-gas-fired power plants—in 2016. So not only will taxpayers have to foot the bill for the project, but they’ll also be paying for pricier electricity. Keep in mind that exorbitant costs do not take into account the unreliable nature of solar (the sun doesn’t shine all the time) or for the additional transmission costs to build lines from where solar panels are to where the electricity is needed. The government should let American taxpayers know how this investment pans out. (more…)