On June 20, 1979, Jimmy Carter put up 32 solar panels on the White House to help show his support for renewable energy. In his dedication for the ceremony he said:
“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.”
The truth is that I don’t think many people actually even remember the solar panels. I know that I hadn’t until an interesting twitter conversation sent me looking for something completely different. The story of the solar panels and what happened to them, though, is extremely interesting.
I highly suggest looking into it with this five year old article from Scientific America. Explore why the road was not taken and how this moment in history is sometimes overlooked.