Yes, Jimmy Carter put solar panels on the White House

In 1979, President Jimmy Carter installed solar panels at the White House. He was the first of three presidents to do so.

As solar panels continue to gain popularity among US homeowners, a viral Reddit post claims the sun once powered one of the most famous homes in the world.

In early October, a Reddit user claimed former President Jimmy Carter unveiled solar panels on the roof of the White House during his presidency, but they were later removed by former President Ronald Reagan.

Google search data also shows people are asking if Carter has installed solar panels in the White House.


Did President Jimmy Carter install solar panels on the White House that President Ronald Reagan later removed?



This is the truth.

Yes, President Jimmy Carter installed solar panels on the White House that President Ronald Reagan later removed.


President Jimmy Carter made the environment a priority during his 1976 presidential campaign and subsequently attempted to reform national energy policy while in office.

In 1977, amid natural gas shortages and unrest in the Middle East, Carter signed a law establishing the United States Department of Energy. The government agency officially became operational on October 1 of that year.

But Carter’s commitment to energy policy doesn’t end there. According to the National Museum of History and the White House Historical Association, in the summer of 1979, he installed 32 solar panels on the roof of the West Wing of the White House. The panels heated the water at the White House until Carter’s successor, President Ronald Reagan, removed them in 1986 during the restoration of the White House roof.

The solar panels remained in a government storage facility for about 5 years after Reagan removed them.

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In 1991, unused White House solar panels were moved from storage to Unity University in New Gloucester, Maine. The school has refurbished 16 of the 32 panels and placed them on the roof of the school cafeteria, where they are used to power the water heater.

Unity University said the panels were removed from the cafeteria roof in 2010 “when they reached their useful life”. The school donated at least one of the solar panels to the National Museum of American History.

Although Carter was the first US president to install solar panels at the White House, two others followed suit.

In 2002, during the administration of President George W. Bush, the National Park Service oversaw the installation of solar panels to power the White House’s central maintenance building. The White House Historical Association says solar power also heats the president’s hot tub and outdoor swimming pool.

President Barack Obama announced that he would install solar panels and solar water heaters on the White House by 2010, a plan that came to fruition nearly three years later in August 2013.

VERIFY has reached out to the White House for comment on whether solar panels will still be installed on the building, but has not received a response at the time of publication.

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