President Donald Trump has indicated his support for a plan to cover the proposed border wall with Mexico in solar panels.
The president spoke about the idea with senior Republicans at the White House on June 6, according to Axios.
Trump suggested that the power generated from the panels could be used to help pay for the wall's construction, sources said. He also explained that he expected the wall to be between 40 and 50 feet high and that the panels would turn out to be "beautiful structures," Axios reported.
The president did not say he was certain such a project would go ahead, but merely noted that he wanted to get people's ideas on the proposal, Politico reported.
Trump repeatedly stated that Mexico would pay for the wall during the 2016 election campaign. In February, Reuters reported that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security estimated that such a wall would cost approximately $21.6 billion, considerably more than the $12 to $15 billion that Trump's campaign and Republican congressional leaders estimated.
One of the bids submitted earlier this year to construct the border wall came from Gleason Partners LLP in Las Vegas. The company suggested that covering the wall in solar panels could generate 2 megawatts of energy per hour, The Associated Press reported in April.
"For the younger generation, they say if there is going to be a wall, let's have it be green," Gleason Partners Managing Director Thomas Gleason told the AP.
Other proposals submitted included a suggestion to turn the wall into a work of art and a plan to make it wide enough to create a tourist attraction that would offer scenic views of the desert. The other bidders have not yet been publicly specified, though.
Trump's solar panel idea comes just days after he withdrew the U.S. from the Paris Agreement on climate change. This provoked widespread criticism, with opponents pointing out that Trump previously labeled climate change a "hoax."
Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, was asked repeatedly in a June 6 interview with MSNBC whether Trump believes in climate change.
"It's a simple question Mr. Pruitt, it's a simple question: Have you ever talked to the president about whether he believes climate change is real?" asked interviewer Joe Scarborough, Business Insider reported. "Does he still believe it was a hoax launched in China? Wouldn't you like to know?"
Pruitt stated that the Paris Agreement would harm the economy.
"I think what's important Joe, is the president has said when you make decisions on environmental decisions internationally, that we put America's interests first," answered Pruitt.
Scarborough pressed Pruitt for a yes or no answer to the question.
"The president has indicated, Joe, that the climate is changing," said Pruitt. "I indicated during my confirmation process that there's a warming trend with respect to the climate, and moreover, there's a human contribution to that."