The 39th President of the United States (1977-1981), Jimmy Earl Carter, has long been a supporter of the solar energy industry.
His first foray into clean energy was back in 1979 after he installed 32 panels in the White House to produce the energy needed for heating the building’s water.
In what was one of his more poignant speeches, he told the country:
“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 just a small part of one of the greatest and most exciting adventures ever undertaken by the American people,”
Since then, solar energy has become one of the fastest growing industries in the States.
Back in February 2017, on a 10-acre plot of his own land in Plains, Georgia, the former president completed a project with SolAmerica to install 3,852 state of the art solar panels. One year later, another 324 panels were added to the array, producing a total output of 1.3 Mega Watts of power every year!
Today, the 94-year-old’s solar farm supplies 50% of all the energy used in his home town of Plains, and he has just signed a 25-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Georgia Power that will see the dramatic expansion of growth on renewable, clean energy throughout the state.
Carter’s Unparalleled Support For Clean Energy
In 1977, President Carter established the Department of Energy, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), and later signed the Public Utility Regulatory Act (PURPA). Carter is one of the top global advocates for clean energy distribution. Approaching the golden century, the former president’s efforts have not diminished in the slightest and he shows no signs of slowing down.
Speaking to SolAmerica, he said:
“Rosalynn and I are very pleased to be part of SolAmerica’s exciting solar project in Plains. Distributed, clean energy generation is critical to meeting growing energy needs around the world while fighting the effects of climate change. 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,”
The solar panel tech used on the farm is state-of-the-art, with powerful single-axis solar trackers installed to direct the panels towards the sunrays. This helps to maximize energy capture and reduce labor intensity.
SolAmerica estimate that the solar panel array will continue to generate huge amounts of energy if the site is properly-maintained. Over the next 25 years, they have set an unbelievable target of 55 million kWh!
SolAmerica’s Executive V.P, George Mori said:
“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,”
A Gift To The People Of Plains And An Example For The Country
There is no doubt that the solar farm has made a huge dent in the carbon footprint of the town. Solar is a fantastic clean energy source that has the ability to provide enough energy for every industrial and domestic appliance it’s supplied to. The power source is essentially free and given the quality of the technology, the farm is relatively easy and cost effective to maintain. Even during cloudy times and during the rainy seasons, the energy reserves built up by panels and stored in onsite battery units would still be enough to cater for the town’s power consumption.
What’s more, the farm has created employment for hundreds of people in the town through the constant need to service and maintain the equipment while reduced electricity costs have improved the standard of living in the area.
Solar can literally change the world if we let it and these examples show that with a little bit of input, collectively we can achieve a lot.