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Carter Library And Museum Unveils New Solar Energy System

Credit La'Candis Brown / WABE
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Former President Jimmy Carter’s grandson Jason Carter led an intimate crowd of nearly 20 people onto the roof of the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum on Tuesday, June 20 for the first viewing of the building’s new solar energy system.

The solar photovoltaic system introduced is 116kW and consists of 324 solar panels on the roof of the building. The panels are projected to reduce the library’s annual energy costs by $15,000. It replaces 7 percent of the library’s power and could possibly fuel at least 13 homes.

The solar panels began being installed by Honeywell International and its subcontractor Inman Solar on May 22, and were recently completed and tested just last week. Inman Solar principal Steve Chiariello noted the installation as being a challenging, but energy fulfilling process.

“We basically tried to maximize the site as much as we could [while] taking in consideration set backs and shading from the tree,” Chiariello said.

According to Chiariello, the energy being generated by the 324 solar panels is intended to be directly consumed by the entire library, museum and conjoining facilities. No energy will be wasted. Whatever is not used will easily be net metered, or pushed back onto the solar energy grid, or stored in batteries within select buildings.

With June 20 also commemorating the 38th anniversary of Carter placing solar panels on the roof of the White House, it was the perfect timing to introduce the continuation of the former president’s solar energy initiative. Jason Carter took the timing as an opportunity to shed light on the growing need for environmental consciousness.

“The need to protect the environment, the extreme state of crisis that we’re in, [and] the political will to continue to make progress on environmental issues is important,” He said. “It’s as important now as it was 38 years ago. It may be a different geopolitical moment, but the need for alternative and renewable energy [has] never been greater than it is now.”

The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum is the first presidential library to be retrofitted with solar panels.