Being born and raised in Vermont instilled in me a love of many things – the open air, the mountains, hiking, skiing, fishing….and the sun (to name only a few). If you’ve ever lived in Vermont (or visited any time between late Fall to early Spring), you know how scarce the sun can seem for that stretch between the leaves falling and the snow melting. For me, that scarcity also gave me an immense appreciation.
Proud of my home state, and proud that I stayed here, unlike many of those I grew up with, I just could not imagine raising my Son anywhere else. He deserves the same joys I had growing up, snow and sun playing completely equal parts. We spent every summer on our boat at Point Bay Marina, on Lake Champlain, and our winters at Smuggler’s Notch, Jay Peak, Olympian family-owned Cochran’s, and Stowe, shredding as much snow as we could during the months of November through April (I even remember skiing on June 1st the year I graduated from high school).
As an adult, it’s awesome to look around and see how far Vermont has come, in terms of renewables, and more specifically, solar power. For example, we rank first in the Nation for solar jobs per capita. FIRST! This is a BIG achievement for the 6th smallest state, and demonstrates how we are paving the way for our goal of being 90% renewable by 2050. Thanks to many in-state incentives, which include the Vermont Energy Act of 2011 and the implementation of net metering, many Vermonter’s are going solar.
Some other interesting (and inspiring) Vermont solar tidbits? Read on….
In 2013, $47 million was invested for home, business and utility solar installs. This was an almost 30% increase over 2012, and continues to be on the up-tick.
In November of 2010, the first 1MW state-incentive-supported solar project went on the line. Developers Ernie Pomerleau and Bran Waxler helped bring the state closer to clean energy without dependence on fossil fuels. The system, located in Ferrisburgh, is shaped like the state of Vermont, incorporates 3,806 panels, and produces enough electricity to power about 170 homes. Installed by Alteris Renewables, the farm boasts a public educational kiosk, and you can even track the energy output on this website.
Vermonters have been environmentally conscious for a long, long time, and now, water, solar, wind and biomass provide ALL of the electricity in Burlington, Vermont’s largest city. With 42,000+ residents, it’s not a huge city, but it’s also not a super small town.
With an unlimited supply of natural beauty, it’s no wonder that with only about 625,000 permanent residents, the amount of tourists that visit Vermont annually trumps that number by 20 times! A state as “green” as Vermont benefits from the preservation of natural resources, which in turn, contributes to the local economy while continuing to appeal to out-of-staters.
If you’ve been here before, chances are you’d like to come back some day. And if you’ve never been, you should witness the beauty of the green mountains at least once, and breathe in the beauty of this beautiful, green state.
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