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Solar panels for the president ... of the Maldives

October 7, 2010 |  8:36 am

Sungevity Maldives solar install

Not long ago, the White House turned down an offer from Oakland-based Sungevity to install donated photovoltaic solar panels on the roof.

But the company has nonetheless managed to land some presidential presence -– in the Maldives.
Sungevity on Thursday installed panels that can produce 11.5 kilowatts on the presidential residence of the small nation, whose 1,100 islands sit about 200 miles from the southern tip of India.

The installation on the building, which is called the Mulee Aage, will help save more than $300,000, according to Sungevity. The 50 panels were donated by LG Electronics and installed by local workers.

The nation -– home to about 400,000 people -- is just a few feet above sea level and is extremely vulnerable to climate change.

The Obama administration is jumping on the bandwagon. On Tuesday, officials announced plans to install solar photovoltaic  panels and a solar water heater on the White House roof by spring 2011.
Companies are being asked to submit bids to install the systems.

-- Tiffany Hsu

Photo: Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed, right, and Sungevity founder Danny Kennedy help install the photovoltaic system on the Mulee Aage. Credit: Sungevity