Sunday, August 8, 2010

Unity College Bestows a Solar Gift

A world leader in solar energy came to Unity College Thursday to accept one of President Jimmy Carter's solar panels as a donation to his Solar Science and Technology Museum in China's Shandong Province.

A world leader in solar energy came to Unity College Thursday to accept one of President Jimmy Carter's solar panels as a donation to his Solar Science and Technology Museum in China's Shandong Province.

Huang Ming, center, chairman of Himin Solar Energy Group of China, acknowledges applause after accepting a solar panel donated to his Solar Science and Technology Museum from Unity College during a presentation on Thursday in Unity. At left is Dana Connors, president of the Maine Chamber of Commerce, and Unity College President Mitchell Thomashow.

Huang Ming, chairman and founder of Himin Solar Energy Group, said in exchange for the panel he'd like to offer the White House a state-of-the-art solar water heating system made by his company.

The gift of the solar panel, Ming said, marked the beginning of a relationship between his company and the college -- and progressive cooperation between China and the U.S.

Flying into New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport, he said he only spotted a couple of rooftops with solar heating systems. That's something he'd like to help change.

"Change is necessary. It's possible. It's easy," he said. "Change our behavior, change our activities, change our minds, and we will change the world."

Unity officially handed off the solar panel to Ming around noon Thursday in the college's Centre for Performing Arts. The event was the culmination of a months-long conversation among Unity officials, Ming and his friend Julian Chen, a physics professor at Columbia University.

Chen was researching solar energy online and learned that Unity College had acquired the solar panels that Carter had had installed on the White House in 1979. He knew that Ming would want one.

In fact, when Chen told Ming about the panels, Ming said he'd pay anything to get one for his museum. Much to the men's surprise, the college offered to give him one for free, Chen said.

After the solar panels were removed from the White House during the Reagan administration, Unity installed them in its cafeteria, where they heated water for 12 years. The college recently donated one of them to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

Last month, a documentary about the panels, called "A Road Not Taken," was screened at the Maine International Film Festival in Waterville.

At the event Thursday, Ming talked about his company's efforts to promote the use of solar energy.

Himin Solar, the world's largest manufacturer of solar water heaters, produces 3 million water heaters annually and was a driving force behind the creation of China's Solar Valley, a massive development in the city of Dezhou in Shandong Province that maximizes the use of solar energy.

Solar Valley is home to Himin's headquarters, called the Sun-Moon Mansion, as well as the Solar Science and Technology Museum.

Ming said the Carter solar panel, which he'll show with pictures displaying its historical significance, will be his second favorite artifact in the museum. His favorite still will be a 3,000-year-old mirror that used the sun to start fires.

Unity College President Mitchell Thomashow said Thursday that Ming's visit was "the highest possible compliment."

The honor came on the heels of another significant achievement, Thomashow said. On Monday, The Princeton Review named Unity to its Green Rating Honor Roll -- a list of the 18 most environmentally-friendly higher-learning institutions, which also includes Harvard College, Yale University and College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor.

Mick Womersley, a professor and director of sustainability at the college, agreed it was significant to have someone of Ming's stature visit the school.

"It's a bit of recognition for the hard work we've done," he said.

Huang Ming, center, chairman of Himin Solar Energy Group of China, acknowledges applause after accepting a solar panel donated to his Solar Science and Technology Museum from Unity College during a presentation on Thursday in Unity. At left is Dana Connors, president of the Maine Chamber of Commerce, and Unity College President Mitchell Thomashow.

Huang Ming, chairman and founder of Himin Solar Energy Group, said in exchange for the panel he'd like to offer the White House a state-of-the-art solar water heating system made by his company.

The gift of the solar panel, Ming said, marked the beginning of a relationship between his company and the college -- and progressive cooperation between China and the U.S.

Flying into New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport, he said he only spotted a couple of rooftops with solar heating systems. That's something he'd like to help change.

"Change is necessary. It's possible. It's easy," he said. "Change our behavior, change our activities, change our minds, and we will change the world."

Unity officially handed off the solar panel to Ming around noon Thursday in the college's Centre for Performing Arts. The event was the culmination of a months-long conversation among Unity officials, Ming and his friend Julian Chen, a physics professor at Columbia University.

Chen was researching solar energy online and learned that Unity College had acquired the solar panels that Carter had had installed on the White House in 1979. He knew that Ming would want one.

In fact, when Chen told Ming about the panels, Ming said he'd pay anything to get one for his museum. Much to the men's surprise, the college offered to give him one for free, Chen said.

After the solar panels were removed from the White House during the Reagan administration, Unity installed them in its cafeteria, where they heated water for 12 years. The college recently donated one of them to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

Last month, a documentary about the panels, called "A Road Not Taken," was screened at the Maine International Film Festival in Waterville.

At the event Thursday, Ming talked about his company's efforts to promote the use of solar energy.

Himin Solar, the world's largest manufacturer of solar water heaters, produces 3 million water heaters annually and was a driving force behind the creation of China's Solar Valley, a massive development in the city of Dezhou in Shandong Province that maximizes the use of solar energy.

Solar Valley is home to Himin's headquarters, called the Sun-Moon Mansion, as well as the Solar Science and Technology Museum.

Ming said the Carter solar panel, which he'll show with pictures displaying its historical significance, will be his second favorite artifact in the museum. His favorite still will be a 3,000-year-old mirror that used the sun to start fires.

Unity College President Mitchell Thomashow said Thursday that Ming's visit was "the highest possible compliment."

The honor came on the heels of another significant achievement, Thomashow said. On Monday, The Princeton Review named Unity to its Green Rating Honor Roll -- a list of the 18 most environmentally-friendly higher-learning institutions, which also includes Harvard College, Yale University and College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor.

Mick Womersley, a professor and director of sustainability at the college, agreed it was significant to have someone of Ming's stature visit the school.

"It's a bit of recognition for the hard work we've done," he said.

SOURCE

1 comment:

JST said...

That is so true ... change is necessary and its possible!

Solar Water Heating Systems are taking time getting adopted but we have referrals coming in from almost every installation we have done till date as once they see it in action, the belief spreads easily.