Why is it that so many liberal ideas fail, and then the explanation is not long enough or not the right way or some variation (the same excuses for the failure of communism) of same? In any case, an interesting piece of history... 1. The glass, aluminum, and stainless steel panels reclined at low angles and basked in the sun as the men in suits and ties, flanked by reporters, took to the West Wing roof to look at what they thought was the future. That day, June 20, 1979, 2. For President Jimmy Carter, it had been nearly three years of tough fighting for clean energy. After a long rollout of green tax credits, the creation of a nascent Energy Department, and a pledge to conduct the moral equivalent of war (at the time, spoofed by critics as MEOW) Solar panels, some 32 of them, were on the roof of the White House. 3. Carter: 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 a small part of one of the greatest and most exciting adventures ever undertaken by the American people. America was to harness the power of the sun to enrich our lives as we move away from our crippling dependence on foreign oil. 4. They cost about $28,000 to install. According to the person who convinced Carter to put up the panels, George Szego, who died this year at 88, they were models of industry .The plan: 20 percent of energy from renewable sources by 2000. Part of his idea was to go far beyond simple hot water solar collectors and direct government research funds towards the development of photovoltaic cells, the kind that could put energy into the grid. Thats the kind of cell that we are still trying to perfect now, in 2008, some 30 years later, when we still get only 6 or 7 percent of our energy from renewables .The 1979 panels survived for a surprising seven years 5. Seven years after the West Wing roof party, in 1986, the symbolic solar collectors met with roof repairs, and they were never re-installed. They were put in a warehouse in Virginia and forgotten. There must have been a little hue and cry at the time enough to force a statement from the White House media shop. 6. Finally, an administrator at Unity College, a then down-at-heel Maine school looking for publicity, stripped out the seats from a tattered school bus, drove down I-95, and took the panels from the government warehouse back to Maine .More than a dozen Carter solar panels now remain over Unitys cafeteria, all of them defunct. Others are also stowed in a garage, trapped in what must be the ninth concentric circle of green hell. In 2006, one panel made it down to the Carter Library in Atlanta, delivered there, fittingly, by two students in a vegetable oil-powered vehicle. " Jimmy Carters Solar Panels:A Lost History That Haunts Today | The Yale Forum on Climate Change & The Media Now, be sure to hurry up and get your solar panels. Jimmy wants you to.