Hello Rhode Island! Today, SolarCity announced we’re bringing our service to our 18th state: you.
Many Americans know of Rhode Island only as the smallest state in the union. Let’s change that.
Fact is, Rhode Island’s history is highlighted by an independent streak dating to the colonial era. Rhode Islanders continue to show their independence with a commitment to energy efficiency and sustainability. We like that!
Let’s get this out of the way
Yes, Rhode Island is the smallest state, at about 1,200 square miles (New York state, by comparison, has 55,000 square miles). About 14 percent of the state’s total area is water. However Rhode Island has the second highest population density. Only New Jersey has more people per square mile.
Nobody tells Rhode Island what to do
OK, let’s talk Rhode Island history.
It was 1636. Roger Williams, a religious dissenter forced out of Massachusetts, set up a colony in what is now Rhode Island. He called it “Providence Plantations.” The colony came under British dominion in 1686, and was one of the original thirteen colonies at the time of the American Revolution. By then it was referred to by the more familiar name, “Rhode Island.”
Williams was only the first of a long line of Rhode Islanders who didn’t like to be told what to do. In 1772, a group called the “Sons of Liberty” boarded and burned the British schooner Gaspee in Narragansett Bay. The incident made Rhode Island the site of the first armed rebellion against the crown. In 1776, the colony became the first to declare independence.
Rhode Island was also the last state to ratify the United States Constitution in 1790, once assurances were made that a Bill of Rights would follow. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both acknowledged Roger Williams as the originator of the concepts of the First Amendment—free speech, free association and freedom of religion.
A modern-day commitment to sustainability
The “redcoats” are long gone. But, Rhode Island continues to be on the leading edge of revolution—the clean energy revolution.
The state has the lowest energy use per capita in the U.S. And, it’s rated as the third most energy efficient state. Rhode Islanders are working to increase those numbers with a statewide goal to put 3.3 million zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2025.
In 2013, the city of Providence (the state capital and largest city) established “Lots of Hope.” It’s a program to increase green space and local food production, improve neighborhoods and overall sustainability, and promote healthy lifestyles.
We’re thrilled to be part of the Rhode Island revolution, and look forward to providing residents and businesses across the state with clean solar energy.
We think Roger Williams would be proud.
Extra! Amaze your friends with these facts from Rhode Island’s history
Per square mile, Rhode Island has more shipwrecks than any other state.
In 1640, Anne Hutchinson established the town of Portsmouth. She was the first woman to establish an American town.
Rhode Island is credited as the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution in America, with the opening of Samuel Slater’s water-powered cotton mill in Pawtucket in 1793.
Newport, Rhode Island, was the first street illuminated by gas light in the U.S., back in 1806.
Ambrose Burnside, governor of Rhode Island after the Civil War, popularized the men’s facial hairstyle known as sideburns.
Rhode Island was the only state that didn’t ratify the 18th amendment, which prohibited the sale of alcohol.
Rhode Island is home to the famous Newport Jazz Festival. First held in 1954, it was the first jazz festival in the U.S.
Weird Rhode Island laws: You’re prohibited from biting off another person’s leg. You’ll be fined for throwing pickle juice on a trolley. It’s illegal to smoke a pipe after sunset in Newport.
The animated show Family Guy is set in the fictional Rhode Island town of Quahog. The show’s creator, Seth McFarlane, studied animation at the Rhode Island School of Design.
Rhode Island has both the highest number and highest density of coffee/doughnut shops per capita in the country, with 342 operating in the state.
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