Former U.S. President Carter goes solar, helping power rural hometown

Former U.S. President Carter goes solar, helping power rural hometown

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter has transformed his farmland into a field of solar panels to help power his tiny rural hometown.

Carter did the transformation nearly four decades after he first had panels installed on the roof of the White House.

Carter leased 10 acres (four hectares) to SolAmerica Energy for the installation of more than 3,800 panels that rotate to follow the sun and will provide energy to more than half of Plains, Georgia, which has fewer than 700 residents, the company said.

The project was formally unveiled this week when the former president, 92, and his wife Rosalynn Carter, cut a ceremonial ribbon marking its launch.

Carter, a Democrat, had 32 solar panels put on the White House roof in 1979, during an oil crisis spurred by strife in oil producer Iran.

His successor, Republican President Ronald Reagan, had the solar panels removed.

“This site will be as symbolically important as the 32 panels we put on the White House,” Carter said at the ceremony, according to media.

“People can come here and see what can be done,” he said.

A former peanut farmer from the rural U.S., South, Carter was a one-term president from 1977 to 1981, during which time he created the U.S. Department of Energy.

He was awarded the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize for his work for peace, human rights and democracy.

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