An interesting tidbit on the solar energy front: The White House is going green, at least to a limited extent. Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Council of Environmental Quality (CEQ) Chair Nancy Sutley announced Tuesday that a solar panel array and a solar water heater will be installed on the White House roof. These installations will heat water for the presidential mansion's living quarters and provide a small amount of electricity. Secretary Chu says the White House installations will demonstrate the availability and reliability of American solar technology.

President Carter was the first to install solar panels on the White House, but these were dismantled in 1986. Later, President George H.W. Bush installed a solar system to power a maintenance building and heat the White House swimming pool. President Obama, who has publicly championed renewable energy, was under pressure from environmentalists to lead by example. Tuesday's announcement was made during the CEQ's 2010 GreenGov Symposium. The Department of Energy will soon initiate a competitive procurement process to select a company to perform the installations.