A 1.3 MW solar energy project in Plains, Georgia has been constructed on 10 acres of land owned by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter.
The former President’s passion for the technology goes back decades. It was in June 1979 when President Jimmy Carter delivered a memorable speech on the potential of solar energy during the unveiling a solar hot water system installed on the White House.
He also created the Department of Energy and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), and signed the Public Utility Regulatory Act (PURPA); all crucial to the evolution of renewable energy in the USA.
Nearly 40 years on and President Carter is still a staunch supporter of solar, which he says is critical to meeting growing energy demand and addressing 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,” he said.
Over the next 25 years, the 3,852 solar panels on the Carters’ property are projected to generate more than 55 million kilowatt hours of clean energy and will provide around half of the electricity requirements for Plains; as well as bringing new jobs and revenue to the community.
The electricity generated by the facility is being sold under a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Georgia Power. The solar farm was developed, engineered and installed by SolAmerica.
“This site will be as symbolically important as the 32 panels we put on the White House,” said Carter. “People can come here and see what can be done.”
The original panels installed on the White House were removed in 1986 by President Ronald Reagan’s administration, which believed the installation “didn’t befit a superpower”. Thankfully, the panels didn’t go to waste and were used in other projects.
Solar panels wouldn’t appear again on the White House roof until 2014, nearly 4 years after President Barack Obama gave the nod for the installation of a solar power system.
While President Reagan certainly put a dampener on the solar energy party, the USA is starting to make up for lost time. One out of every 50 new jobs created in the country last year was in the solar energy industry according to the recently released National Solar Jobs Census 2016 report. More than 31GW of solar energy capacity is now installed throughout the nation.