PLAINS, GA (WALB) - Former President Jimmy Carter helped unveil a solar panel project on his home property in Plains Wednesday morning.
President Carter said this is a huge opportunity for not only him and his wife, but for Plains and rural Georgia as a whole as well.
As the sun came out from behind the clouds, President Carter officially marked the opening of the solar panels operated by SolAmerica, an Atlanta-based company.
"He's been deeply involved in the project which has been inspiring to our team and as an engineer himself, he's been very detailed and hands-on," said George Mori, Co-Founder and Executive Vice President of SolAmerica.
President Carter tried to grow solar power as an energy source when he was in office, and said the United States still lags behind other nations.
"This will be a site that will be symbolically as important as the 32 panels we put on the White House back in 1979," Carter said at the ribbon cutting ceremony Wednesday.
38 years later, more than 3000 solar panels are producing power in what he calls one of the best decisions of his life.
"Energy has been an important part of my grandfather's legacy for so many years," said Jason Carter, the former president's grandson, who stressed what the project means for rural Georgia.
Georgia Power will buy the power produced by the state-of-the-art panels and provide more than half of Plains' power.
"These are kind of rare in the fact that they track the sun all day," President Carter said.
The Carters believe this project will be a huge benefit to farmers.
"I think it will be an inspiration for farmers, an inspiration for small towns, an inspiration for everybody that wants to shift to depending on the sun directly or indirectly for our power instead of coal and oil," President Carter said.
A representative from Georgia Power said initiatives like this are helping lower people's power bills.
President Carter said he hopes to make his solar panels accessible for tourists to see when they visit his hometown.