The Solar Farm Jimmy Carter Helped Build Now Powers Half Of His Hometown

The Solar Farm Jimmy Carter Helped Build Now Powers Half Of His Hometown

Jimmy Carter was always ahead of his time. He had installed solar panels on the White House nearly 30 years ago.

Image Source: Background: Getty Images/Creative/Witthaya Prasongsin Inset: Jimmy Carter: Instagram/The Carter Foundation

Former President Jimmy Carter has always been giving back to society and has always been ahead of his time. An example of this is when he installed solar panels on the roof of the White House over thirty years ago, in 1979, according to Green Matters. His decision to install the panels came after a national emergency crisis arose amid the Arab oil embargo. The Democratic President then called for a campaign to conserve energy and to set an example to the people of America, he installed solar panels on the roof of the White House, according to the White House Historical Association.


According to National Museum Of American History, Carter predicted that “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.” There was a 32-panel system designed to heat water throughout the presidential residence.


"President Carter saw [solar] as a really valid energy resource, and he understood it. I mean, it is a domestic resource and it is huge," Fred Morse, director of Carter's solar energy program, told Scientific American. "It was the symbolism of the president wanting to bring solar energy immediately into his administration," he continued. However, it seemed like Ronald Reagan, who replaced Carter in office wasn't really a fan of sustainable energy, so he ordered to have them taken down. 


Jimmy Carter got two things right in his prediction. His panels are currently on display at The Smithsonian Institute, the Carter Library, and the Solar Science and Technology Museum in Dezhou, China. Also, proving that Jimmy Carter was way ahead of his time is the fact that renewable energy has become quite important. So, the New York Times reports that in 2017, he leased ten acres of land near his home in Plains, Georgia, to be used as a solar farm with 3,852 panels.


Carter, 94, still lives in Plains with his wife in a two-bedroom home that's assessed at about $167,000. It's been more than three years since the panels were installed and now they power around half of the city. That's 50% electricity supply to the small town and it's equivalent to 1.3 MW of power per year, and that equals burning about 3,600 tons of coal, reports Gas Nature.  The panels installed are state-of-the-art as they can turn around to face the sun to generate maximum power.


"Distributed, clean energy generation is critical to meeting growing energy needs around the world while fighting the effects of climate change," Carter said in a SolAmerica press release. "I am encouraged by the tremendous progress that solar and other clean energy solutions have made in recent years and expect those trends to continue. There remains a great deal of untapped potential in renewable energy in Georgia and elsewhere in the U.S."


"We believe distributed solar projects like the Plains project will play a big role in fueling the energy needs of generations to come," SolAmerica executive vice president George Mori said in a statement. It is all said to have started when SolAmerica approached Jason Carter, Jimmy Carter's grandson, about the possibility of installing panels. Jimmy Carter's Habitat For Humanity has been doing some great work and Carter himself goes out to help build homes for the needy.


Ever since 1984, Jimmy Carter has been associated with Habitat for Humanity and this current undertaking is his 36th building project in association with them. In a tweet, the organization wrote: Working with Habitat since 1984, the Carters’ commitment serves as an inspiration for us all.


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