SolarCity recently announced we’re expanding our service territory in Texas, bringing our clean, affordable solar energy to homeowners in Austin.
Our newest solar city is already a shining star for many reasons – it’s the capital of Texas, also known as the “Live Music Capital of the World”, that has long had a reputation for pursuing sustainability and marching to the beat of its own drum. Oh, and did we mention it’s one of the sunniest cities in America?
Here are a few more fun facts about quirky, warm, wonderful Austin, Texas:
It’s weird…and it likes it that way
You may already know that the city’s unofficial slogan is “Keep Austin Weird” – but do you know where it came from? In 2000, local librarian Red Wassenich coined the phrase when calling in to a local radio show, and in the 16 years since, the motto has symbolized residents’ values and desire to stay authentic. You’ll find the saying proudly displayed around town, on everything from bumper stickers to shirts.
It’s blown up – literally and figuratively
Austin has its own volcano. Lying seven miles south of the city center is Pilot Knob, a now extensively eroded volcano that was active some 80 million years ago. The geologic feature is shrouded in legend as well – it’s rumored that both indigenous tribes and Spaniards buried their treasures on the hill.
Speaking of hills: another nickname the city has acquired is Silicon Hills, for the tech scene that blossomed in the 1990s and has continued growing since. Today Austin houses everything from tech giants to stealth mode startups, and is one of the top areas for venture capital in the U.S.
Tech jobs are just one of the reasons Austin was named America’s fastest growing big city, according to a recently published census. The Austin region passed the 2 million population mark last year, with an estimated 110 people moving to the Central Texas area every day.
Another reason people are flocking to the city is for the music, of course. As mentioned earlier, Austin is officially known as the Live Music Capital of the World. The city ranks #1 in music venues per capita. With over 1,900 local bands and artists performing at almost 200 live music venues around town, you can catch any show from country to blues to rock n’ roll, every day of the week.
It’s blazing green trails
Austin has a history of forging new paths when it comes to sustainability. The city developed the first municipal green building policy in America, which paved the way for the LEED rating system, now one of the most popular green building certification programs in the world. In 2011 it became the largest local government in the nation to power all municipal buildings and facilities with 100% renewable energy. And currently, Austin is working on turning a former landfill into what could be America’s first eco-friendly industrial park designated exclusively for recycling and reuse companies.
It comes as no surprise that Austin also loves solar panels, having earned a national ranking as a top solar city. With its municipality already running on nothing but clean energy, the city’s set its sights on an even bigger goal: reaching 55% overall renewable energy generation by 2025.
We can’t wait to help the city of Austin reach its renewable goals, by making it easy and affordable for homeowners to go solar. Learn more about our residential solar service here.
Want more fun facts about Austin, Texas? You got it:
In 1978, 25-year-old John Mackey and Rene Lawson Hardy borrowed $45,000 to open a small natural foods store in Austin – which would go on to become the first Whole Foods. Mackey and Lawson worked and lived in the store – bathing in the commercial dishwasher, since there was no shower in the building.
Austin is the only city in the world known to still operate a system of moon towers, 19th century lighting structures designed to illuminate areas of a town at night.
Bat City is another nickname Austin goes by. Fitting, considering it’s home to the largest urban bat colony in North America. You can catch roughly 1.5 million of the winged critters flying around downtown’s Congress Avenue Bridge during peak season.
ATX is all about celebrating the weird. This includes partying for Eeyore’s birthday (yes, we’re talking about the forlorn donkey who used to hang with Winnie the Pooh).
Dig dump digging? You’ll want to check out the The Cathedral of Junk if you’re ever in town – a sculpture constructed entirely out of, well, junk. Artist Vince Hannemann has been building on the project since 1988.
Austin actually grew during the Great Depression; the city’s population increased 66 percent during this period.
Austin is the largest city America without a professional sports team.
It also boasts more tattoo shops per capita than anywhere else in the world. You can even get a tattoo for free – one of the local beer gardens, Banger’s, will pay for you to get their logo inked on your body.