Today, Jimmy Carter gets to enjoy a gleeful chuckle while Ronald Reagan rolls over in his grave. Today is a good day.

After four years of repeated grumblings of “we’re going to do this, we promise,” the Obama administration has plunked some solar panels on the White House roof. And like all great things, they’re American-made, American-installed, and run off of good ol’ American sunlight!

A little bit of backstory: Back in 1979, Carter was ahead of the curve in installing solar panels at the presidential residence. At their dedication, he provided an apt analysis of what they symbolized at the time: “A generation from now, this solar heater can either be a curiosity, a museum piece, an example of a road not taken, or it can be a small part of one of the greatest and most exciting adventures ever undertaken by the American people—harnessing the power of the sun to enrich our lives as we move away from our crippling dependence on foreign oil.”

Reagan honored that sentiment with a resounding “SIKE NAW” when he removed the panels in 1986.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

And nearly 30 years later, here we are again! Time is a flat circle, after all.

During a speech today in California, President Obama unveiled new plans to promote the use of solar energy by businesses, households, and the government, plus a $2 billion initiative to make federal buildings more energy efficient by 2017.

“Every four minutes, another American home or business goes solar, and every panel is pounded into place by a worker whose job cannot be overseas,” Obama said.

What better place to continue that trend than his own house?

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

“Being at the White House, we do have some security concerns, and we can’t cover the entire roof,” says White House Usher James Doherty in an official video (watch below) showing the installation of the panels. “Although that would be good from an energy saving standpoint,” he adds with an uncomfortable giggle.

Hopefully, these solar panels will enjoy a slightly longer life than Carter’s.

Reader support helps sustain our work. Donate today to keep our climate news free.