Terri Steele and Neshama Abraham
August 11, 2010
The American Solar Energy Society (http://www.ases.org) is lending its support to a powerful public-private partnership to demonstrate the technological advances that can bring clean, job-creating, domestically-produced solar energy back to the White House. The Globama Initiative is encouraging citizens of all political persuasions to confirm their support of this taxpayer-friendly project by signing an electronic petition that can be found at www.solaronthewhitehouse.com.
The National Solar Tour, a program of the American Solar Energy Society (ASES), supports the Globama Solar on the White House initiative. Now in its 15th year, the National Solar Tour is the world’s largest grassroots solar event. Last year, 150,000 people across 49 states and Puerto Rico participated.
The Tour helps businesses and consumers learn about the clean, job-creating solar energy options and the tax incentives that make solar solutions more affordable than ever. Each year the event features open house tours of thousands of solar-powered homes, businesses, and public agencies to introduce the solar technologies U.S. citizens are using to 1) slash monthly energy bills, 2) reduce environmentally harmful carbon emissions, 3) assert their energy independence and 4) enjoy rich tax credits and cash incentives as they improve their property values. The bulk of the tours take place on or about October 2, 2010.
In addition to the American Solar Energy Society, the campaign partnership is led by the solar home specialists at Sungevity and fueled by the Solar Energy Industries Association, the Post Carbon Institute, Solar Nation, CleanTechies, private sector solar companies -- and U.S. citizens.
“The Gulf of Mexico oil spill is the largest man-made environmental disaster this country has seen. Its devastation rivals that of the Exxon Valdez every four days. In its wake, Americans are again searching for clean energy alternatives,” said American Solar Energy Society Executive Director Brad Collins. “Outfitting the ‘people’s house’ with a leading-edge solar energy solution serves as a beacon to the world that clean energy is a priority to President Obama, his administration and the people he serves,” Collins added.
“We are thrilled to have the grassroots support of these reputable organizations to help spread awareness around the clean power of the sun – and to make people aware of the tax credits, cash grants, accelerated depreciation, and related economic benefits for American homes and businesses interested in going solar,” said Sungevity Founder Danny Kennedy, whose company has offered to donate a 102-panel, 17.85 kW solar PV solution that will offset 81% of the White House’s monthly electricity bill.
“As the U.S. Senate takes up debate of the President’s clean energy legislation (the American Clean Energy and Security Act), we can’t think of a better time to remind Americans of the legacy of solar energy at the White House, and encourage more people to sign the petition and look at the economic and environmental benefits solar offers,” added Kennedy.
Solar energy has a history of serving Presidents on both sides of the political aisle. Over 30 years ago, Americans were outraged at being held hostage to the interests of the foreign, oil-rich members of OPEC. In response, then-President Jimmy Carter had solar panels installed on the White House. His aim was to inspire Americans to educate themselves about the clean, domestic energy alternatives inherent in solar technology.
“A generation from now, this solar heater can either be a curiosity, a museum piece, an example of the road not taken, or it can be a small part of one of the greatest adventures ever undertaken by the American people,” the President predicted. In the mid 80s, the panels were dismantled for ‘cleaning’ and never re-installed.
In 2002, the administration of President George W. Bush accepted a National Parks Service proposal to reinstate solar at the White House. The proposal allowed for a 9 kW solar PV system on a maintenance shed serving the White House grounds and two solar thermal systems to heat the White House swimming pool and hot tub. But with few incentives to guarantee market stability for solar businesses or consumers, little attention was paid to the gesture and solar remained out of reach to most Americans.
“The difference today from 30 years ago is that solar technology has exponentially improved to offer Americans a broad spectrum of efficient, clean energy alternatives,” said Collins. “And with concentrated solar power plants with storage capacity coming online in the Southwest, solar energy can provide electricity to our U.S. electrical grid 24 hours a day.”
“Technologies have improved, solar module prices have dropped and credit markets have loosened to the point where folks can have confidence in their solar energy options,” said four year National Solar Tour sponsor Jyl Safier, Marketing Director for the global solar energy experts at Conergy.
Collins agrees. “We encourage citizens across the U.S. to sign the Globama petition. And we invite people to join the National Solar Tour by showcasing their solar-powered homes and businesses on this year’s tour – or by taking the tour to learn how they, too, can harness the power of the sun to cut energy costs and create cleaner communities. “As this year’s National Solar Tour theme suggests, there’s never been a better time to ‘Be solar inspired.’”
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