(Update 2/21/09: We now have a full residential solar hot water system for a family of 4 being donated. See below. Other system PV components and labor as well, and I've heard that others will soon be signing on next week. Of course, more is needed for hot water as well as PV. While you can still do any and all of the 10 suggestions below, for those who want to volunteer either their installation expertise and/or more products to a White House installation, please place what you'll be volunteering/donating in the comments section below. Also, we now have a FaceBook page to submit your product offers and/or volonteer your solar services for this effort. Thanks! And now, back to our regularly scheduled blog post:)
The other day I read a blog post from Applied Materials (a model solar company blog, by the way) calling for President Obama to put solar panels back on the White House.
My post here is a call to action by the entire solar PV and solar hot water/thermal industry to “help” the President return solar panels to the top of the White House.
What I’m about to suggest is a huge grass roots “Got Milk” style guerrilla marketing campaign that will benefit the entire solar PV and thermal industry for the least amount of money and effort --that is, if everyone is inspired to act and implement my suggestions.
If people don’t act, well, then it falls flat. Status quo. On the other hand, if you each take a little time and perhaps a bit of money, we can collectively shove solar to the tipping point of widespread acceptance, which would in turn, affect policy and consumer demand for solar.
So here it is, and it all starts with your generous efforts to help President Obama to offset at least the residential portion of the White House with solar PV and solar thermal.
A Tiny Bit of History and a Challenge from Germany
As many here know, President Carter first put solar thermal panels on the White House. Then Ronald Reagan took them off way before their time. Under Bush (yes, W), a PV and hot water system was added onto a WH maintenance shed run by the National Parks Dept, and that's where we are. Solar is relegated to a maintenance shed.
I have no idea why the President has not acted to put solar back on the White House proper. The last news source I can find says he was "considering it." Clearly, he and Energy Sec. Chu are supporters of renewable energy. Nevertheless, as Stephen Lacey noted in his excellent podcast, the German parliament’s Reichstag building now uses passive solar, solar PV, solar thermal and other RE technologies to offset almost all of its energy needs. What's taking so long with the relatively smaller White House?
I’m not even suggesting that the Capital Building be self sufficient on RE. There are too many oil and coal lobbyists in those halls for that. All I’m suggesting is that we should help President Obama find a way to offset the residential portion of the White House with solar PV, solar hot water, and solar thermal.
Doing so would be a huge step and a symbol for the new era in American renewable energy independence. It would make individuals and businesses ask the question, “Is solar right for me?” And that’s what we want. We need the public to be educated about the current rebates and incentives to go solar. More publicity will lead to greater demand, which will lead to more instalation jobs, cleaner air, and all the other benefits that I don’t need to tell all you RenewableEnergyWorld.com readers.
Yes you can … help the White House go Solar: 10 Guerrilla Marketing Suggestions
Okay. So, here now are the 10 solar guerrilla marketing ways for solar companies to help President Obama bring solar back to the White House. Some of these ideas are small, others might require some advertising dollars or donated solar products. Do what you can.
If you all act independently, the same message should be heard by the President (and the media) in multiple, creative ways, and he will be reminded to go solar now.
Also, please feel free to add more suggestions in the comments below!
1) Write a quick email.
The least you can do today is for you and your employees, family, and friends to email the President and/or Stephen Chu to go solar. The letter could be something simple. Such as:
Dear Mr. President and Energy Secretary Chu,
Please use the White House as a symbol of energy independence and clean, renewable power. Installing solar PV and solar thermal systems and offsetting the residential energy portion of the White House would be an inspiration and an education to America. It would show us that solar is ready now and that it is affordable in many areas through government programs such as PACE and the 30% Federal Tax Credit.
The president’s email form is here. If you’re afraid of email forms, you can directly email our Nobel Prize winning Energy Secretary Stephen Chu at The.Secretary@hq.doe.gov. If you’re on Twitter, you can tweet this post to the @Whitehouse and to the President’s official spokesperson, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.
2) Copy your letter above and/or send this blog post to your city’s local media, including newspapers, political blogs, and TV news stations. All of them have suggestions boxes. Why this issue hasn’t hit the top of the news cycle is beyond my comprehension. Sometimes the media needs a nudge. Collectively, please nudge them.
The information and views expressed in this blog post are solely those of the author and not necessarily those of RenewableEnergyWorld.com or the companies that advertise on this Web site and other publications. This blog was posted directly by the author and was not reviewed for accuracy, spelling or grammar.