Put Jimmy Carter's Solar Panels Back on White House Obama can make an important symbolic gesture By John Johnson, Newser Staff Posted Sep 10, 2010 1:10 PM CDT 36 comments Comments A file photo of solar photovoltaic panels, though these are more modern versions of Jimmy Carter's. (Getty Images) (Newser) – A group of environmentalists has spent the past week carting a relic back to the White House—one of the solar panels Jimmy Carter installed on the roof in 1979. And President Obama should stick it back up there, along with more modern ones, as an important public gesture—and as a way to make "symbolic amends" for the failure of climate legislation, writes Bill McKibben of the group 350.org. "We wasted three decades when, across America, we could have been using the sun's power instead of coal to heat our water," he writes in the Washington Post. "We wasted our technological lead in the most important industry of the future and handed it to countries like China. As scientists tell us with increasing fervor, we're laying waste to the planet's climate. Now is the moment to go back to the future."