On former President Jimmy Carter’s farmland, where nut and soybean crops once stretched as far as the eye could see, there are now 3,852 solar panels providing clean energy for much of Plains, Georgia.
Carter has long advocated for clean energy — he was the first president to use solar panels at the White House, saying in 1979, “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.”
In 2017, the SolAmerica company worked with Carter to install solar panels on 10 acres of his farm, with the goal of powering most of Plains. Plains is home to 727 residents, and today, those solar panels provide more than half the town’s power. One megawatt produces enough energy to keep the lights on in 400 to 900 homes, and the Carter farm’s solar panels can provide 1.3 megawatts a day under the right conditions, People reports. SolAmerica Energy President George Mori told the magazine that by 2042, the panels are expected to have provided more than 55 million kilowatt hours of power.
The solar panels at the White House were dismantled by former President Ronald Reagan, and are on display at museums around the world, including the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., and the Carter Presidential Library in Atlanta.