The SolAmerica Energy project's official debut will be celebrated Wednesday, with Carter, who is now 92, expected to attend.
Carter was the first American president to embrace renewable energy, seeing it as a sustainable response to the 1973–74 Arab oil embargo and the ensuing energy crisis that lingered in the United States for the balance of the decade.
On June 20, 1979, the Carter administration installed 32 solar panels on the roof of the White House and used them to heat water.
"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," Carter said.
As president, Carter created the U.S. Department of Energy and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
He also signed the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act, a law intended to promote energy conservation while encouraging greater use of domestic energy and renewable energy.
In a statement this week, Carter said he and former first lady Rosalynn Carter are pleased and excited to be part of SolAmerica's project in Plains.
" Distributed, clean energy generation is critical to meeting growing energy needs around the world while fighting the effects of 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,” the former president said.
The company estimates the project will provide more than half of the power needed by the city.
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