8 reasons we love Vermont

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We announced today that we’re entering Vermont, bringing our money-saving, sustainable, solar power services there for the first time.

The Green Mountain State is now the 19th we serve. And we’re delighted—for many reasons—to be part of it. Among the things we love:

It’s sweet. Really. 

Vermont is home to the venerable Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream. The company was started in 1978, in a renovated gas station in Burlington. Vermont is also the country’s leading producer of maple syrup—by far. The state accounts for 42 percent of production countrywide.

Put that on your pancake: Vermont produced 1.32 million gallons of maple syrup in 2014. That’s enough to fill more than 85,000 standard beer kegs.

A unique history. 

During the Revolutionary War, Vermont declared independence separately from the 13 colonies. The move effectively made it a sovereign nation. Nevertheless, Vermonters—particularly a militia known as the “Green Mountain Boys”—were key in the fight against the British. In 1791, Vermont finally joined the U.S. as the 14th state.

A renewable-energy track record. 

Vermont was the first state to enact a feed-in tariff to accelerate renewable energy technology. It’s one of only two states without a coal-fired power plant. And, it’s a leading state for methane digesters, which use microorganisms to break down biodegradable materials—in this case, cow manure from the state’s vibrant dairy industry—to manage waste and produce electricity.

Moo juice: The waste produced in a day by one cow can generate enough electricity to power two 100-watt light bulbs for 24 hours.

It’s a trailblazer for gay rights. 

In 2000, Vermont became the first state to legalize same-sex civil unions. In 2009, it became the first state to legalize marriage equality through legislative action, rather than a court decision.

Physical fitness. 

Vermonters are among the country’s healthiest people. They ranked second for health in 2014, behind only Hawaii, according to the United Health Foundation. In the rankings, the state was number one in 22 key factors, including behaviors, community and environment, policy and clinical care.

Fiscal fitness. 

Vermont routinely balances its budget, although it’s the only state in the country with no constitutional requirement to do so.

Truly great outdoors. 

Vermont’s name is derived from the French phrase for “green mountains.” The Green Mountains is also the name of the chain covering the state’s eastern half. The state’s western border with New York is punctuated by Lake Champlain. Vermont boasts 52 state parks and nearly 4.6 million acres of private and public forestland, covering nearly 80 percent of the state. Hunting and fishing are big pastimes … and moose watching is growing in popularity. Skiers also know the state well, including resorts like Okemo, Killington, Jay Peak, and many more.

Vermont’s hills really are alive: The von Trapp family, whose story was told in “The Sound of Music,” settled in Stowe after escaping Nazi-occupied Austria in 1939. The mountainous, green landscape reminded them of their beloved Alps. You can even visit and stay in their home—it’s now a popular, 96-room Alpine lodge still owned and operated by the family.

They take “quaint” seriously. 

Montpelier is the only U.S. state capital without a McDonalds. Much to advertisers’ chagrin, the state does not allow billboard advertising. And, as far back as 1970, Vermont passed Act 250. It’s an often-controversial law designed to carefully manage land development throughout the state.

SolarCity is the leading provider of rooftop solar power in the U.S. We’ve helped customers across the country benefit from clean and inexpensive solar energy. And, we’re excited about the opportunity to help make the Green Mountain State even greener.

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