You should have heard lots about the Jimmy Carter Solar Panels by now. Of course, one of these panels featured prominently in our recent Solar Road Trip, and another was donated in August to Huang Ming of the Himin Solar Group in China. One of the better tellings of the Carter Panels’ history came from Scientific American in August. Read the Scientific American article here.
The panels are a tremendous resource for the College. They’ve been incorporated into our academic program, attracted significant media attention, been integral to some development and partnership efforts, and have served as a strong symbol to our campus and local communities.
For about twelve years, sixteen of the Carter Panels produced hot water for our campus cafeteria. Today, the maintenance crew is carefully moving those sixteen panels into storage. The roof rack holding the panels has not worn well over the last two decades, and we’re prudent to take them down before the mounting deteriorates further.
Recently, a group of campus folks met about how best to handle the 41 Carter Panels in our possession. Some will continue to be used in our education program (see work done by the Energy and Energy Efficiency Lab at Mick’s blog), and others will be restored for historic and educational value. Still we hope that some number of them will be dedicated to use on campus buildings. We’re in preliminary discussions about just where and on what timeline, but we’re excited about possibilities for using them again down the road. And we’re eager to involve students in their restoration; we’ve even heard from some of the original White House installers that they’d love to be involved.