Clean Energy Group and SmartPower release groundbreaking report on how to make solar power marketing more effective

Clean Energy Group (CEG), an American non-profit organisation that promotes clean energy policy and technology innovation in the US and abroad, and SmartPower, a non-profit organisation promoting the use of clean energy, have issued a landmark report funded, in part, by the Department of Energy, entitled "Smart Solar Marketing Strategies." The report, based on authoritative research, shows states how they can act more like retail marketers in creating product value and consumer interest in solar power.

Despite the recent increase in PV solar installations in the US, solar power installed still represents less than 0.1% of our the US’s energy production. In order for solar energy to make a sizable contribution to jobs, a greener economy, help reduce greenhouse gas reductions and move the nation toward energy independence, more solar deployment will be required. According to this solar marketing report, the use of effective marketing strategies is the key to attracting new customers and building a mainstream market for solar power.

"Solar programs must understand and address the major barriers to solar market growth," said Brian Keane, President of SmartPower. "In seven years of message research, we have learned that the 'environmental message' is not the answer to motivating consumers to purchase clean energy. Unless the solar industry begins to market solar energy like Coca-Cola sells soda or McDonald's sells hamburgers, they are not going to create a strong, robust marketplace. Essentially, the industry must create a greater demand for solar energy that does not exist right now. From a marketing perspective, if granite counter-tops are in demand, solar should be too."

By helping the potential customer understand the financial value of solar, its reliability, and the many new "easy financing" programs established by states and utilities, states can explain how solar can become a smart and indispensable investment. The report describes specific examples of effective marketing initiatives from across the country, which will assist the states in increasing the demand for solar and achieve their clean energy goals. According to the report, by acting more like retailers selling a product, state solar programs have the potential to sharply increase PV purchases and installations.

Four barriers to the growth of solar energy technologies

The authors of the report have identified four barriers impeding solar market growth: up-front costs are high and the payback is long; it is not perceived as a reliable source of energy, even though it is; the complexity of solar energy installation is a deterrent; and the decision-making process and financial complexity make the solar sale difficult.

The report then provides states with specific marketing best practices on how to address these barriers, identifying lessons learned and approaches being used by the best solar marketing programs from states like California, Oregon, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, and New Jersey.

"As states increasingly compete with each other for clean energy jobs and economies, being savvy solar marketers is more important than ever," said Mark Sinclair of Clean Energy Group. "Marketing their programs and creating messages that connect to consumers on a financial or value level are the keys to increasing solar installations. By creating a solar marketing plan that promotes the affordability of solar power, for example, states can attract new customers, create long term consumer demand and build successful markets for this valuable energy source."

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Clean Energy Group

Tags: Solar , Jobs , PV
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