Jimmy Carter is once again pioneering solar energy projects. The former president who almost 40 years ago installed solar panels at the White House just unveiled a solar power project on his Plains, Georgia farm, where he once cultivated soybeans and peanuts. The 3,852 solar panels on his land can generate enough renewable energy for more than half of the 683-person town where Carter was born.
Carter leased 10 acres of land for a 1.3 megawatt solar array to Georgia-based SolAmerica Energy, who first approached Carter’s grandson Jason Carter regarding the project. The panels, which can move to follow the sun, will provide power to the grid through a 25-year Power Purchase Agreement with Georgia Power. The New York Times reports the family will make under $7,000 a year from the solar project.
The former president, who is now 92, invested time in the solar project making notes in the lease agreement’s margins and regularly visiting the farm.
Carter promoted solar power nearly four decades ago with his White House array, and although the next president, Ronald Reagan, removed the panels, Carter didn’t give up on clean energy. He recently said in an interview at his old high school, “I hope that we’ll see a realization on the part of the new administration that one of the best ways to provide new jobs – good-paying and productive and innovative jobs – is through the search for renewable sources of energy. I haven’t seen that happen yet, but I’m still hoping for that.”
Carter’s wife Rosalynn said after the ribbon-cutting ceremony, “It’s very special to me because I was so disappointed when the panels came off of the White House, and now to see them in Plains is just terrific.”
Experts and the former president have said the farm array, while small-scale, could still offer an example for other areas of agrarian America.
Images via SolAmerica Energy