Barack Obama will on Friday unveil several new initiatives intended to expand the deployment of solar power on Friday, as officials confirmed that a set of solar panels on the roof of the White House was now operational.
Obama will – once again – bypass a deadlocked Congress and use his executive authority to announce $2bn funding for energy-saving measures at federal government buildings, as well as 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 officials told a conference call with reporters the initiatives were intended to add momentum to the solar industry, which has seen rapid expansion over the last two years.
“We are going to be doing everything we can, with the tools that we have to move forward,” said Dan Utech, special assistant to the president on energy and climate change.
In a largely symbolic move, the White House began installing a small set of solar panels on the roof last summer. The fit was now complete, officials said, releasing a video in which the panels were shown being installed. “The size of the array we established here is the typical size for the average American house, ” said James Doherty, the White House usher. Security concerns had prevented the whole roof being covered, he said.