Unity College Gives Historic Gift To China 

Two solar panels that were once on top of the White House are now headed from Unity, Maine to China. The hope is that the gift will help renew interest in solar power.The panels once helped to heat the hot water in the White House during the Carter administration back in the 70’s and early 80’s. Mitchell Thomashow is the president of Unity College where the solar panels have been since 1991. “Now that we have a revival of interest in alternative energy sources and a better understanding of the climate change challenge that we all face,” he says. “These have reached a historical level of importance.”The panels are now a gift to Huang Ming and the people of China. Ming is the chairman of the Himin Solar Energy Group in China who has been working with solar energy for more than 20 years. The panels will now be the centerpiece of a solar science museum in China. People at Thursday’s ceremony hope this is just the beginning of a cooperative effort between the United States and China, and that Unity College can play a key role in that effort. “I think it represents the sense that there is a great businessman, philosopher, and visionary in China who is using this symbol of American ingenuity and using it to promote his own business and the future of china.”Ming thinks the joint effort could reignite America’s interest in solar power and inspire other nations to do the same. “The cooperation, the uniting of these 2 great nations will encourage all of the people in other countries to face the challenge of global warming and the energy crisis,” Ming says.Thomashow agrees the benefits of the cooperative effort could have a positive economic impact globally. “The quicker we mobilize our economy towards green jobs and green industries the more America is going to manifest it’s vision and it’s greatness.”