White House solar panels operational

US President Barack Obama is to use his executive authority to bypass Congress and authorise a $2bn funding drive for energy-saving measures at federal government buildings.

The Presidential announcement coincides with the news that the White House’s new rooftop solar array is operational.

The $2bn funding drive will include new financing and training programmes for solar installations.

The announcements, to be made on a trip to California, cap a climate-focused week at the White House, following the release of an authoritative report on the growing threat posed by heat waves, severe downpours and sea-level rise.
White House
"We are going to be doing everything we can, with the tools that we have to move forward," Dan Utech, special assistant to the president on energy and climate change told reporters.

Officials confirmed that in a largely symbolic move, the White House solar install is now complete.

The solar panels were part of a broader energy retrofit at the White House, demonstrating it was possible to introduce renewable energy even in historic buildings, officials claimed.

Solar panels were originally installed at the White House under Jimmy Carter, but Ronald Reagan ordered them dismantled in 1986. Obama brought in the latest solar technology as a sign of his commitment to renewable energy.

The panels will repay the costs of installation within eight years.

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