Former President Carter’s solar power farm in Plains sets good example for other farmers

PLAINS, Ga. — A close family member told Channel 2′s Richard Elliott that former President Jimmy Carter is doing well in hospice care and was having a good day today.

That family member shared that their entire family laughed when his grandson James Earl IV put on a juggling show for them yesterday.

Not far from downtown Plains is a solar farm on 13 acres owned by the former president.

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He believes solar power can become a cash crop for rural families.

The solar panels on Carter’s farm are about more than just making a point.

Jimmy Carter wants to demonstrate to farmers that the sun can be just as profitable a cash crop as peanuts or soybeans.

Tully Blalock is the CEO of SOL America, the company that runs this farm and others across Georgia.

“President Carter’s legacy is one of supporting solar and seeing the potential for it,” Blalock said.

Channel 2 was there in 2017 when Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter cut the ribbon on the new solar farm.

He said then they were trying to show solar power’s potential for supplying the grid, and for helping rural farmers.

“We’ll be self-sufficient someday to a great extent because of the example we’re trying to set here in Plains,” Carter said.

The former president has been a proponent of solar power ever since he put solar panels on top of the White House back in the 1970s.


But its potential to become a cash crop is something new.

Farmers can lease their land to solar farms for a lot more than they can, in some cases, to other farmers... a lot more.

Blalock said the program is successful.

They sell the one-megawatt power generated from Carter’s 13 acres directly to Georgia Power.

But, Carter’s farm creates enough electricity to power the entire town of Plains.

Blalock thanks President Carter for his support.

“He put solar panels on the White House when he was president. So he was really thinking ahead and had the foresight to see what the future was going to bring,” Blalock said.

On the Carter farm, the First Lady helped turn the land surrounding the solar panels into a pollinator habitat.

By attracting pollinators like bees, that helps all the traditional farms around it.

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