He has been an advicate for renewable energy since his time in the White House.
Jimmy Carter was ahead of his time and the rest of the country when he installed solar panels in the White House.
On June 20, 1979, he issued a triumphant proclamation. He said, "In the year 2000 this solar water heater behind me, which is being dedicated today, will still be here supplying cheap, efficient energy…. 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."
The 32-panel system was built to heat the water in the presidential residence. For some of the solar panels, the former is true, one is housed at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, another at the Carter Library, and one has joined the collection of the Solar Science and Technology Museum in Dezhou, China.
Because of the coverage of solar panel installations in the Takoma Historic District and ANC 4B's on-going efforts to support solar in our neighborhood, I present this classic DC picture of Jimmy Carter reviewing the solar panel system he installed on the White House in 1979. pic.twitter.com/E74uuAPjYM— Evan Yeats (@Evan_Yeats) October 9, 2019
Fred Morse, director of Carter's solar energy program, told Scientific American, "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. It was the symbolism of the president wanting to bring solar energy immediately into his administration."
Unfortunately, when Ronald Reagan took office after Carter, he removed the panels from the White House because he was not a fan of alternative energy. During an election debate with Carter, Reagan justified his opposition to the latter's energy policies, "The Department of Energy has a multibillion-dollar budget, in excess of $10 billion. It hasn't produced a quart of oil or a lump of coal or anything else in the line of energy."
Ronald Reagan pulled out the solar panels Jimmy Carter installed at the White House, crushed the nascent solar panel industry, and stopped increasing auto efficiency standards. His library burning because of climate change would be the definition of poetic justice. https://t.co/iXtHTPhkr9— Mary Gillis (@living_marble) October 30, 2019
Carter, on the other hand, was correct, as renewable energy has emerged as one of the most important American endeavors of the new millennium. Carter, on the other hand, was correct, as renewable energy has emerged as one of the most important American pursuits of the new century. Abengoa's Morse, a researcher, said, "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. It was the symbolism of the president wanting to bring solar energy immediately into his administration."
Carter has always been a problem-solver, as evidenced by his hands-on approach to Habitat for Humanity home construction. As a result, he leased ten acres of land near his home in Plains, Georgia, in 2017 to be used as a solar farm with 3,852 panels. The installation, developed by SolAmerica Energy, was expected to generate more than 55 million kilowatt hours of clean energy in Plains, more than half of the town's annual needs, reports Tree Hugger.
Representative Cover Image Source: Getty Images/Mario Tama