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Smart Solar Marketing Strategies

Clean energy state program guide

Prepared by
Clean Energy Group and SmartPower
AUGUST 2009

Acknowledgments
Many people have been helpful in the development of this report, including Lew Milford
and Maria Blais of Clean Energy Group; Warren Leon, formerly of the Massachusetts Re-
newable Energy Trust; Roger Clark from Pennsylvania’s TRF Sustainable Development Fund;
Adele Ferranti, Dave Friello and Judy Jarnefeld of NYSERDA; Lizzie Guiles Rubado and Betsy
Kauffman of Energy Trust of Oregon; Eran Mahrer and Rex Stepp of Arizona Public Service;
Molly Sterkel of California CPUC; Sandy Miller and Amy Morgan of the California New Solar
Homes Partnership; Ryan Helton and Jane Tabor of New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natu-
ral Resources Department; Tom Plant and Jeff Lyng from Colorado’s Governor’s Energy Of-
fice; Ann Marie McShea and Scott Hunter from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities; Sam
Nutter of Massachusetts’ Commonwealth Solar Initiative; and Lise Dondy and Dale Hedman
of the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund.

The opinions presented in this report are those of Clean Energy Group and SmartPower
and are not intended to represent the position of Clean Energy States Alliance or any of
its individual members, or the U.S. Department of Energy.

Financial Support
Support for this report was generously provided by Clean Energy States Alliance and the
Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Program.

Disclaimer
Clean Energy Group and SmartPower do not assume any legal liability or responsibility for the
accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product or process
that is referred to in this report. References in this report to any specific commercial prod-
uct, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not
constitute or imply endorsement, recommendation or favoring neither by the United States
Government or any agency thereof nor of the individual members of the Clean Energy States
Alliance. The views and opinions expressed in this web site do not necessarily state or re-
flect those of the United States Government or any agency thereof, or the individual mem-
bers of the Clean Energy States Alliance.

Smart Solar Marketing Strategies

Prepared by
Clean Energy Group and SmartPower
AUGUST 2009

   Table of Contents

Executive Summary 1

Introduction and Background 4

Marketing and the 4 P’s 5

Building a Marketing Plan 7

Marketing Strategy #1: Improving the Value Equation for Solar 8

Marketing Strategy #2: Reinforcing the Reliability of Solar Technology 12

Marketing Strategy #3: Reducing the Complexity of Solar 17

Marketing Strategy #4: Overcoming Customer Inertia 20

Marketing Strategy #5: Finding the Right Message 22

Marketing Strategy #6: Reaching New Customer Markets 25

Developing a Marketing Plan: How to Begin 26

Conclusion 27

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and state solar programs play a critical role in creating and supporting effective marketing initiatives that can address the major market barriers. state solar program managers must see themselves as a critical part of the solar sales process.    Executive Summary This report showcases smart marketing strategies from clean energy programs and solar marketers from across the country that address how to overcome the barriers faced by solar technology markets and serves as a guide for states in pursuing their own market planning process. public relations activities. b) what price/value equation will have the most appeal. For marketing to be successful. advertising. and where product infor- mation is presented to consumers. the total amount of solar power installed nonetheless represents less than 0. Therefore. it must create a desire for a product. While there has been a major increase in solar photovoltaic (PV) installations in recent years.” Effective marketing guides how. marketing connects with the consumer and builds desire for the product. more solar technology deployment will be required. Clean Energy Group l  l Smart Solar Marketing Strategies . this per- spective reflects a narrow definition of marketing – one that primarily focuses on communi- cations-centered initiatives. However. such as website strategies. In order for solar energy to make a sizeable contribution to jobs. However. marketing in the broader sense should play an important role to expand the growth of solar. When all of these elements are successfully integrat- ed. energy production. Although state solar programs report limited marketing initiatives of their own. and services to create exchanges that satisfy individual and or- ganizational objectives. The reality is that in order to drive more solar power installations.. needs to understand: a) current consumer perceptions of the product and what must be overcome to improve those perceptions. promotion. so that it will reach the right consumer target. installing solar technologies is no simple task. c) who do consumers believe to be credible sources of product information. The American Marketing Association defines mar- keting as “the process of planning and executing the conception. goods. These marketing resources are important. and educa- tion of stakeholders. when. resulting in a sale. a green economy.S. with the ultimate goal of persuading consumers to pur- chase a particular brand or product. and d) where to place this key information in the form of promotion. A marketer.1% of U. etc. and greenhouse gas reductions. solar programs must address the key barriers to its market growth. therefore. and distribution of ideas. pricing.

The lengthy decision-making process and financial complexity of the solar sale often result in consumer inertia. solar programs also must create a connection with customers through marketing messages that are likely to enhance interest and lead to further inquiry. 4. it is not perceived as up to the task of powering our energy needs. and provide state solar programs with guide- lines that should be integrated into their overall marketing approach. in addition to addressing these barriers. Inertia. Cost. Consumers report high up-front and out-of-pocket costs and long payback periods deter them from installing solar energy technology. SmartPower also learned from over seven years of message research in the area of renew- able energy and energy efficiency that the “environmental” message is not the answer to motivate consumers to purchase renewable energy technologies. Therefore. 3. 2. Messages that connect on a financial or value level are most likely to succeed. The time consuming and complex nature of purchasing and installing solar energy systems discourages potential customers. address consumer concerns. Complexity. Research con- ducted by SmartPower and detailed in this report was designed to identify the barriers to solar purchases. Reliability.Consumers consistently report a preference for energy produced from renewable energy sources but invariably fail to purchase renewable energy in sizeable numbers. Those barriers include: 1. Consumers already under- stand the environmental benefits of solar power. The need to understand consumer attitudes and develop programs and communication approaches that address those barriers ultimately means that state solar programs must THINK and ACT LIKE RETAILERS. and ALL four must be addressed to expand the market. The absence of solar technologies in the public’s eye and confusion about its performance and capabilities create concerns about the reliability of solar technology. SmartPower’s findings concluded that there are four primary barriers to solar market growth. but those benefits have not been persua- sive enough to broaden market adoption. A retailer knows how essential it is to: • let the public know what it offers • create pricing that appeals to the public • demonstrate and stand by the quality of the product • make it as easy as possible to make the purchase • create a buzz about the product that generates interest and action Clean Energy Group l  l Clean Energy State Program Guide .

they measure success in the form of megawatts of solar installed.For retailers. also must lead to an action: an application for a solar program’s financial incentive to purchase and install a solar energy system. Clean Energy Group Lyn Rosoff. Mark Sinclair. While state solar programs are not directly “selling solar installations” to customers. the complexity of purchasing solar and consumer inertia. state programs can focus their limited marketing resources to address the major marketing barriers. SmartPower August 2009 Clean Energy Group l  l Smart Solar Marketing Strategies . To achieve state solar megawatt goals. the guide is not meant to be a clearinghouse of all solar marketing programs. a solar marketing plan must address the technology’s value proposition. success is easy to measure: it’s the ringing of the cash register. nor an endorsement of any one particular approach. its perception of unreliability. By starting with that end in mind. Therefore. Instead. it is of- fered to provide solar programs and stakeholders with examples of innovative strategies that can make a difference in solar marketing. the state mar- keting approaches and activities must lead the customer to the solar sale. nevertheless. A state solar program’s marketing activities. However. to be effective. This guide cites many marketing initiatives that are contributing to the growth and interest in solar across the country. overcome consumer resistance and broaden the market.

(See http://www. stretched for both commercial and residential mand for solar power and achieve megawatt customers. commercial and residential consumers are beginning to appreciate the price This report is designed to complement the find. 2006 levels.pdf) prices remain volatile. and mar. which grew 57% over report identified critical state policies and pro. with an uncertain economy and financial resources state incentive programs can increase the de. the need to market solar effectively goals. and serves as a guide for states in pursuing their own market planning process.Introduction In April 2008. Clean Energy Group (CEG) released Background a report on state strategies for building a strong The marketplace for solar is exploding as more solar marketplace entitled Clean Energy State states increase investment in solar incentive pro- Program Guide: Mainstreaming Solar Electricity: grams. only 80. The report highlighted best practices from were concentrated in a few states. ogy into the mainstream. to solar and bring this renewable energy technol- group. This report showcases examples from clean is more critical than ever.000 in the United States in 2007 and most gram. Clean Energy Group l  l Clean Energy State Program Guide . installation standards.cleane. solar marketing efforts to attract new customers keting and education. stability that solar power offers. addressing all installations in California alone. such issues as state renewable portfolio standards. The size of the 2007 market. equipment ratings. The 2008 solar market was five times the Strategies for States to Build Local Markets.org/Reports/CEG_Mainstreaming-Solar. However. with 69% of states with robust solar programs. identifying and addressing consumer barriers. However. By look at solar power for the first time. energy programs and solar marketers from across the country that have addressed these barriers. ings from CEG’s Mainstreaming Solar Electricity Program Guide and to provide a similarly helpful Many customers with a financial focus are now tool that focuses on how marketing initiatives motivated beyond environmental attributes to can help achieve state solar program goals. solar installations totaled grams necessary to build a successful solar pro. building Now is an important time for states to use focused codes. long-term financing. As natural gas and oil Electricity_Apr2008. training.

think like marketers. a consumer will not buy a poorly ers are aware of these new financing strategies manufactured product or one with a questionable and aggressively promote the financial “value” of reputation merely because the price is good.g. Marketing is not merely communica. price. their program success is integrally linked to the developers. and how to deliver that mes. It is the sum presentation to the customer technology.. states must ensure that prospective custom- For example. These attitudes affect the desire to of a value equation that results in a sale or action. state programs can evalu- of every successful brand. how to communicate that value fying both the opportunities – the strengths and in a compelling way. service or social cause. ate the Product from the perspective of consum- and cause. many states are ad- dressing the financing of solar to help overcome The classic elements of marketing – the 4 P’s: consumer price concerns. Building a strong sup- success of solar suppliers. Promotion – offer a useful nisms are broadening access to solar power and matrix to assess state solar programs. positive attributes that should be marshaled – and sage in the most efficient and effective manner. state incentive pro- on-line chat room links. from pop-ups on computers. ers’ rational and emotional attitudes towards solar tions. How- gram initiatives should address each of the 4 P’s. the best quality product must be affordable to ensure market share. making it available to new customer groups.Marketing and the 4 P’s We live in a society that bombards consumers power in their region. However. Solar pro. to e-newsletters and e. Marketing is at the heart For marketing purposes. than do solar suppliers. ever. grams define the 4 P’s in a slightly different way blasts. how the product or service can keting and communications approaches by identi- address that need. solar products to consumer targets. Place. Today. ensuring that customers can easily find Clean Energy Group l  l Smart Solar Marketing Strategies . reliability. Consumer reaction to solar technology Marketing is the process of identifying what the (e. While state solar pro. price them. organization. to in marketing solar. Each plays an important part with messages. all de. purchase. larly. The Place. or channels through which solar is sold. ing the solar marketplace. the barriers – the concerns and “issues” that pre- When state solar incentive program managers vent sales. Price. business. and suppliers. they will sharpen the focus of outreach efforts and improve the effectiveness Price is one of the single biggest barriers to grow- of their solar program offerings. Both share the same plier network is critical in keeping up with rising goal: building a strong customer base for solar demand. to advertising in traditional media. or also is an area where solar programs have an im- control the quality of technology or installation. grams do not produce solar panels. financing mecha- Product. Simi. signed to build a “share of mind” for a product. quality issues) informs mar- consumer needs. portant role through their work with installers.

Price.” a solar mar- help build a stronger market for solar technologies. rather than program-focused. as a result. sample a new keting plan must start with the consumer in mind. This alone will not matter. overall sales if the price/value equation has not get customer bases (customer segmentation). the development of a solar mar- persuade a customer to visit a store. In essence. The 4P’s ensure that all aspects of the Place and Promotion. improved pricing effectively and efficiently (communications). Using communica. Promotion of solar should be a primary in a sale. Therefore. marketing matches the right customer to the right product. As states apply marketing approaches to focus as state programs seek to increase the visibil. make a donation to a nonprofit organization. keting plan identifies how a state program will achieve installed megawatt goals through acquisi- As solar incentive programs examine their pro. All elements must work to- evaluation process informs the elements of a solar gether to motivate the target customer to take ac- marketing plan. visit a web- look at how complex the solar sales process can site. purchase an existing product. their solar incentive programs. present solar in the marketplace and ensuring that the right messages are presented to the public will If one “starts with the end in mind. become more effective in achieving tions and promotional strategies to favorably solar goals. resulting Lastly. and been addressed. tion of residential. be for consumers and how solar programs can or inquire about a solar incentive program. If consumers are not confident address key messages to reach those audiences about the reliability of solar. focus their efforts on specific tar. Whether a marketer’s goal is to tion. the minimize and ease the transaction process. process is the same. States also should product. commercial and institutional gram offerings through the lens of Product. Clean Energy Group l  l Clean Energy State Program Guide . they will become more cus- ity of solar installations and broaden the appeal of tomer-focused. Improving the process of pur- need to better understand their customer through chasing solar will not alone make a difference in market research.an installer is part of this task. and. they may conclude that they “sale” are covered. their solar initiatives. customers.

the remainder of this through rising attendance at monthly educational report will 1) identify major market barriers. as seen Based on these studies. address ing products and solar technology suggests that consumer needs and increase solar customers. Conducting In 2007. was not translating into increased ap. “Inerts” – those who express interest in solar by tion of a solar marketing plan. the key findings point to several essential Trust of Oregon (ETO) (manager of the State of elements for an effective solar marketing plan. In barrier. While there is much to learn from these its existing solar incentive program. Clean Energy Group l  l Smart Solar Marketing Strategies . attending a seminar or requesting information. whether they are residential or com- mercial. Understanding what residential solar customers and solar prospects consumers believe both rationally and emotionally (SmartPower refers to prospective customers as about solar technology will help shape the direc. The Energy studies.Building a Marketing Plan The low market penetration of green energy pric. the help shape the development of smart marketing state’s largest utility. but have not yet become buyers). customers. how best to overcome market barriers. was interested in improving initiatives. and 3) recommend action steps to imple- both cases the goal was to better understand ment a successful marketing plan. SmartPower embarked on consumer re. detail smart marketing strategies to address each plication for its program’s solar incentives. Oregon’s solar incentive program) could not ex- plain why a growing interest in solar. have concerns about solar power that are The Oregon and Arizona studies looked at both barriers to market growth. Arizona Public Service (APS). 2) seminars. both quantitative and qualitative studies of these search studies in two very diverse states: Arizona customer segments provided valuable insights to and Oregon.

This approach may at- solar energy system purchases prohibitive. they also must ensure that consumers are number of consumers who are able to afford solar aware of those financial offerings. It can only succeed if it is stallments (whether through leasing arrangements able to attract new customers. already-interested solar There are important lessons for solar marketing prospect waiting to take advantage of these of- from the automobile industry. changing or purchase) rather than through full price sticker the public’s perception about the affordability Oregon. the message often serves as a deal stopper. existing customers. Energy Trust of Oregon’s solar customers used Therefore. spective customer of the total cost of installing The value equation (the relationship between solar. Similarly. most Inerts or promoted through press releases and on the were clear that the high out-of-pocket costs made program website only. “delete” signal.000 or more. Likewise. tract the well-informed. Car dealers have ferings. growth for solar technologies so low. the consumer’s expectations of the product’s By “calculating” the cost of solar installation at benefits to the costs) for solar is not strong and $20. Full cost information may be hin- The Oregon study found that less than 5% of dering the advancement of a solar sale. the homeowner may hit a mental high up-front costs are limiting market growth. while many states are putting financ- home equity loans or other financing to pay for ing programs in place to overcome the high cost their solar installation. when solar incentive programs single biggest barrier to purchasing solar among provide a website calculator that informs the pro- those customers who attended solar seminars. the car dealer does not pro- long understood the value of promoting their mote its low monthly pricing options only to its product by highlighting affordable monthly in. However. This indicates that the small of solar.M ark etin g st rateg y #1 Improvin g the value E q uat i o n o f so la r SmartPower’s studies showed that cost is the shock. Often these is a major factor in what has kept the market programs are available in small pilot programs. 160 Respondents Clean Energy Group l  l Clean Energy State Program Guide .

” Recent gressive at promoting the offerings to consumers. electric bill by as much as 60 percent. SolarSmart Homes combine the most cost effective energy ef- As one example. It was sold out within nine min- SolarSmart Homes are a wise investment utes. Value barrier.000 / 7 year loan was pre- centive program functioning as more of an en. In addition. they are not always as innovative or ag. held a long-standing interest in solar with the in. the abler than a true incentive and promotion that program had substantially more appeal. To that A similar effective “value” message is being deliv- end.aspx programs like SMUD’s SolarShare are making solar available to new customer groups. states should prominently feature this mes. while Highlighting the specific monthly cost of a solar many programs are providing innovative financing lease or loan has a much stronger effect than schemes. fordable payment approaches. customer reported. a California-based installer that is sage of affordability on their solar program web. SmartPower research in Oregon and Arizona energy audit customers confirmed this. property taxes.of solar power will ultimately make the most to expanding solar adoption. ered by SolarCity. sented to customers as $125/month payments. it is important to realize that these second look. the value message difference in building consumer demand. simply promoting “low interest loans. low http://www. focus groups conducted by SmartPower with home In fact. out-of-pocket cost of solar installations to a man- comfortable. While many of these initiatives are investment-focused message: relatively new.smud. the City of Berkeley. “I knew about the loan offer. they reflect the need to give con- Make a SolarSmart choice today and sumers more financing options and reduce the enjoy a new home that is more affordable. but the actual dollar amount makes me take a Therefore. SMUD promotes its strategies provides the tools to address the Price/ SolarSmart homes program with a value-oriented. As one brings new customers to the program. A primary marketing challenge for states to ad- dress is to ensure that the marketplace hears the An example of how to use these new financing positive message about the value equation for solar. about how to afford solar should be the most prominent message delivered. However.” new solar financing mechanisms are tools that can tell new customers that solar is affordable. and environmentally friendly. offering solar leases to residential customers with a sites. and yet when a $15. Because the affordability of solar is so central very strong affordability promotion on their website: Clean Energy Group l  l Smart Solar Marketing Strategies . California ficient features and roof top solar electric genera- created a pilot city tax program that allowed home tion in a package that makes homeowners money owners to apply solar installation costs to their every month. 3rd party leasing and innovative mart/Pages/index. Customers found that most solar customers today already knew about the availability of 0% interest loans.org/en/residential/solars- interest loans. offerings to create a strong value message can be The recent proliferation of creative solar financing found on SMUD’s website. ageable monthly expense that is more comparable Buy a SolarSmart HomeSM and reduce your annual to their electric bill. demonstrating the consumer demand for af- that make doing the right thing easy.

Currently. Superintendent of Schools and Mayor lease. municipal and county This system will generate enough electricity buildings.solarcity. diate financial relief and guarantees. financing the purchase of a home. Boston and 130 people in central Massachusetts. Selectman. Promoting the val. suggesting that they al. expand solar on public buildings. Every Board of http://www. maintenance well above expectations. Today. most solar customers learn about incen- tives from their installer. Realizing this. The environmental bene.aspx was invited to attend a workshop to learn about solar energy’s value proposition. financing options for solar by reaching new customers and creating broader purchases are necessary to overcome high up- interest in solar power. and forums will expand the solar marketplace or a college education. but savings are of greater value interest for cities and towns than ever before and to the homeowner. such as state. In sum. and the internet to promote these affordable Bedroom Home options to the public. the Massachusetts’ the utility company from $200 down to Commonwealth Solar program created solar work- $75 per month. are also an important source of future to offset what you are currently paying to solar customers. ties. The workshops For a homeowner looking to reduce utility bills. costs and environmental impact. we would recommend installing a 16 The affordability of solar is not just an issue for panel solar system. municipal leaders and other program offerings that create a great are actively seeking strategies to reduce energy value for the consumer. educate them on Power Purchase Agreements to tually save $25 per month from day one. Institutional customers. For a home with a monthly electricity bill of $200. Solar has more fits are important. are critical to expanding the market. cable television. Just as with ue story through new messages. Your monthly SolarLease shops specifically targeted to municipal leaders to payment would be $100. creating and promoting innovative fi- ready had an interest in solar before they knew nancing mechanisms for customers to install solar what incentives were available. residential and commercial customers. SolarLease Example for Typical 3. Paying cash for a new car is not possible want to consider using advertising opportunities for most consumers. outreach activi. high attendance at these workshops is proof of that demand. Clean Energy Group l 10 l C l e a n Energy State Program Guide . Incentive programs may front costs. pocket for a new solar energy system. were sold out with over 100 people attending in this SolarCity solar leasing approach offers imme. and neither is paying out-of- such as National Public Radio.com/residential/solar. so you could ac. an automobile.

Develop an outreach plan.What new approaches.Identify target groups such as business associations. Identify the range of financial options currently available to customers within your market.Use the website to show monthly payment options for solar technology purchases or leases. 7. if any. Clean Energy Group l 11 l S m a r t Solar Marketing Strategies . 8. and developers.Work with local utilities to promote the value of combining solar with energy efficiency for optimum financial effectiveness. Educate homeowners and commercial customers. Focus on “how to pay for solar.Ensure that workshops and other solar seminars highlight financing as a key component.Ensure that they are promoting the financing options that are available to their potential customers. .” . PPA’s and other monthly financing strategies available? . . Work with installers. 5. municipal and institutional customers. should you offer? 2. 4. Marketing Plan Action Step #1: IMPROVE THE VALUE EQUATION 1. .Are lease arrangements.Are you reaching a broad audience with these options and bringing new customer groups to solar? .Prominently promote the affordability message in collateral material. 6. remembering that this is the biggest barrier to broader adoption. Create a strong “affordability” message. Host special solar financing events/workshops. .Can you leverage the resources of strategic partners (such as lending organizations) to create broader awareness? 3. . . Evaluate how you currently promote financial options to prospective customers. . public relations and advertising that go beyond the website.

The house was pictures of their vision of a solar world. For example. sat empty due to storm powering our modern world. This perception borhoods or on our public buildings. confusing terms illustrate effective strategies for establishing a such as net metering. a simple cottage in the country and entitled it. it partnered with Michael concerns about reliability and also contribute to a Jordan. services. solar programs can begin to address effective tactics to address consumer concerns the issue of reliability by ensuring that solar is as and reinforce the strength and reliability of their visible as possible in their markets and is presented products.000. The not “in the dark” due to the solar system’s lack of images that emerged from this assignment were performance but due to a heater malfunctioning best represented by one solar customer who drew that caused pipes to burst. There are many examples among those who have installed a solar product. “Quiet Simplicity. Consumer marketers have used a number of However. where. damage. customers are exposed to its quality and benefits.Ma rket ing st rateg y #2 Re in f orcin g the reli ab i l it y o f so la r tech n o l og y Concern about the reliability of solar is a barrier to For most people. demonstrate the of its basketball shoes. We rarely see is often reinforced by misleading stories such as solar installations as we travel or on TV. Clean Energy Group l 12 l C l e a n Energy State Program Guide . consumers believe they will be abstract concept or a niche product rather than a “buying” into a simpler lifestyle with solar that they mainstream energy source. in invisibility of solar technologies contributes to a the winter of 2009. or goods. from the annals of consumer marketing that Questions about billing issues. one that will help • “Sampling” the product so that prospective fuel and build a stronger economy. As a result. Michigan. built at sense that solar energy is not up to the task of the cost of $900. such as: as a powerful source of energy. source of energy for their home. Solar energy systems are not people do not think of solar power as a reliable often visible in our every day lives. most are not ready for. a model solar home. The those appearing out of Troy. “what happens on a rainy product’s quality.” Consumer marketers must counter these perceptions with strategies to bolster solar’s Reliability questions also abound. when Nike™ day or in a snow storm?” and even how much wanted to demonstrate the high performance power solar customers will save. in our neigh. solar technology remains an market growth. sometimes even attribute of reliability. purchase. The headline “Celebrated Solar House Left in the Dark” contributes to the concern This was confirmed by SmartPower’s qualitative about solar as not up to the task of meeting the research when consumers were asked to draw energy demands of homeowners. And a Timex™ watch was dropped from belief that solar power is not a realistic consumer a high rooftop and it kept on ticking.

educational seminars. Denver. In 2008. Many states are employing the summer of 2008. When light the benefits of installing a solar water Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger launched heater while also promoting its charitable his Million Solar Roofs campaign in 2004.com/my_community/Sto- essentially became the state’s celebrity ryArchive/StoryArchive_51. answer • Installing solar in high visibility locations.com/lo- “quality” messages to support their solar programs.• Celebrity endorsement – “If a celebrity uses visibility to the public by not only creating a the product. Governor’s mansions and sports vehicle. For example. benefits. The solar quiz and sweepstakes were stadiums. part of kiosks displayed at state fairs and other liability issue. but on-going vis- • Testimonials by customers – “It worked for ibility to a wide range of constituencies that me. covering seven acres.html While these strategies may not have been de- ployed specifically to address the reliability issue. http://www.800 panels. and extended their partner. CO installed a large solar array of 9. press conferences. at the Den- In addition. The sponsorship allowed APS to high- their Governor in supporting solar. APS teamed up with Habitat for • California’s solar program administrators be. cal/denver. APS uses Nash in radio advertising and sumers about the value of solar while capturing on their website. http:// Clean Energy Group l 13 l S m a r t Solar Marketing Strategies . Humanity and with a local radio show whose lieve that much of their success is due to the weekly feature focused on home improve- strong political backing and high visibility of ments. NSHP teamed up ship by installing solar on the Phoenix Suns’ with Clear Channel Radio to increase awareness stadium. solar signage com. names of prospects.aps. For exam- and advertising – “If I see it.html dio spot that directed consumers to a website where they could watch a short video.2. ver Airport that was visible to delegates com- and informational materials are all part of build. and his reputation is unassail. using high traffic locations sports fans and business travelers.aps. http://cbs4denver. such questions.html endorser for solar power. such as • Awareness building.” ple. of solar during Solar Energy Awareness Month pletes this campaign tie-in. For example. in June. he role. of promotional elements to help educate con- able. Inside the arena. These installations increase solar high traffic venues across California. it will work for you. Clear Channel created a 30 second ra- com/main/news/releases/release_443. are excellent ways to address the re. ing to the Democratic National Convention in ing the reliability story. I’m thinking about it. it must be good.798582. nities helps build support for solar power. http://www. California’s New Solar Nash is the most popular and likeable sports Homes Partnership (NSHP) combined a number star in Arizona.” are not typically introduced to solar. • An effective way to educate consumers about • Arizona Public Service has found its celebrity solar products is by using media to promote its partner in Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns.” public relations opportunity. • Installing solar in highly visible locations and they nevertheless do build a strong case about the using the attendant public relations opportu- ability of solar to power our world.convention. and have a chance to win a hybrid as airports.delegates.

NSHP cre- ates a database of prospects that can be used • The most well known of the solar “sampling” to drive visits to new solar homes and solar programs is the American Solar Energy Society’s events. workshops for teachers. take a quiz about islators for solar incentives and federal tax the reliability and features of solar.org/builders/market. and its/energy-city/default. October – National Energy Awareness Month – cut Clean Energy Fund (CCEF) has found a way attracts 150. to 50 cities in the western part of the United Solar Is Now. By sharing expenses.000 students to see the exhibit. http://www. The promotion not business leaders to sample the power of solar only educates customers about the value of in well-organized events. The tour staged exhibits ticipated in the 2008 contest and it has been at both the 2008 Democratic National Conven- repeated in 2009 with “Win a Green Home tion and the Republican National Convention Makeover” contest where consumers are in. • The 2008 City Tour for Solar.ases. Califor- sage to both developers and consumers that nia.com National Solar Tour – the largest grassroots solar event in the country. Now in its 13th year.000 people across 48 states.000 solar homes.gosolarsweepstakes. Min- solar is a smart choice.org/exhib. Texas. and are en. includes installation of photovoltaic systems in lum support for school children create a strong public schools.gosolarcalifornia. “Solar Is Working. recognize that solar has gone million towards “Energy Smart” in which solar mainstream. It provided a way for political and tered into the sweepstakes. The Science http://www. http://www.aspx “Bright Ideas” grants. Oregon. States.smart- solar and the way in which it reduces energy growthadvocates. The Connecti. It also creates great opportunities panels are part of an exhibition that focuses for state solar programs to support the Tour. Nevada. ing package. a solar-based curriculum-train- face for solar. the • “Sampling” is a tried and true way that allows Tour. The Tour gives custom- educational display at the Connecticut Science ers the opportunity to see solar in action. Since its inception in Clean Energy Group l 14 l C l e a n Energy State Program Guide .php?option=com_con Center works in conjunction with the Hartford tent&view=article&id=549&Itemid=94 Public School system and has brought more than 13.org/user/SunEdisonPueblo. and because of the sheer size efficiency fund and CCEF have contributed $1 of the Tour. which traveled theme line. Solar Is Smart. which kicks off on the first Saturday in customers to try a new product.” This delivers a strong solar mes.pdf costs. Over 17.html SunEdison and three solar manufacturers. sponsored by ing_resources/index. has created an interactive educational exhibit con- The NSHP also addresses reliability through its tained in two bio-diesel trucks. by gathering entries. The • The PG&E Solar Schools Program in California high visibility display combined with curricu.000 people par. the state’s energy to home owners. to increase support among candidates and leg- structed to watch a video. visit- to allow people to ‘sample’ solar through its ing 5. including Washington. www.org/index. http://ctsciencecenter. but also. and Colorado. New Mexico. Arizona. on efficiency and renewables. talk Center. nesota. credits.

can host similar educational “fact finding” tion seminars that help realtors speak more trips within their states for key solar stake- comfortably about the quality and value of holders.000 teachers. recog- stalled solar on more than 125 schools. http://www. This was an excellent hands-on educational cal to the success of selling solar in new home opportunity for U. Education is the key. trained nizing the growing importance of utility com- more than 3. http://www.solarelectricpower.pge. In 2009. SEPA hosted a sive home. similar trip to Spain and has now instituted a rather than factoring in energy costs. Many Utility Peer Match program that allows utilities state solar programs. Execu- tives had the opportunity to speak with their • An increasingly important customer segment European counterparts regarding utility-fo- in advancing solar sales is the real estate in. including solar grid reliability. are now working with best practices.S. • Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA). cused concerns.ca.energy.solaroregon.S.000 students. http://www. portant energy source.gov/ 2009publications/CEC-180-2009-006/CEC-180- 2009-006. A realtor who cannot effectively came away with a much stronger appreciation talk about the value of solar on a home may for solar power and the role it plays as an im- re-direct a prospective buyer to a less expen. PG&E’s Solar Schools Program has in. dustry. utility executives. to be matched with similar utilities to share fornia and Oregon.org/ solar power. hosted executives from most 200. including those in Cali.-based energy organizations to attend a solarschools/ fact-finding trip to Germany in 2008. 2004.php tors_appraisers and http://www. focusing solely on purchase price. State clean energy programs realty organizations to provide solar informa.PDF Clean Energy Group l 15 l S m a r t Solar Marketing Strategies . peer/index. Realtors are criti. who purchases. and benefited al.com/ 23 U. panies in solar growth.org/real.

solar seminars for homeowners. Offer educational seminars for specific targeted segments (chambers of commerce. Identify strategic partnerships with sports teams. businesses. 4. 5. Evaluate customer concerns about solar reliability in your market. 6. 2. Create a speakers’ bureau of homeowners and business leaders who will speak about the effectiveness of solar power to meet their energy and financial needs. local celebrities and media to create positive solar images and increase presence of solar installations in the public eye and in the marketplace. workshops for municipalities) to build confidence in solar technologies. 7. Participate in or increase awareness of annual solar home tours to broaden attendance. Create special VIP tours for target groups. and institutions who have installed solar power. Find opportunities to increase visibility of solar installations in high traffic locations. 3. Marketing Plan Action Step #2: REINFORCE THE RELIABILITY OF SOLAR 1. Create campaigns built around positive testimonials from corporations. Clean Energy Group l 16 l C l e a n Energy State Program Guide .

Without an estimate. reliability and price. There aren’t currently any iconic brands for solar prod. about new technology. easy for consumers to purchase and install. This is “Inerts” – those simply thinking about solar. leaving consumers to rely on installers for much more comfortable with technology than much of the information that they receive. existing solar customers are more brand of automobile. creating a Catch-22 situa- be more lengthy and complex than expected. If they were not ready to install a sys. As much like asking a customer to buy an unknown early adopters. the customer can not consumers often feel overwhelmed by the process. and tion. for most people who had tem. Research also indicates that solar customers are ucts. Oregon found that. from solar installers as part of their decision-mak. then installers were not ready to invest in a installed solar PV.M ark etin g strateg y #3 Red uc in g the c omp lex ity o f so la r The decision-making process for installing solar can site visit to their home. proceed with decision-making and becomes in- Solar technology is not viewed as a product that is creasingly frustrated. SmartPower research participants reported that The solar purchase process is often complex and they often encountered difficulty getting estimates more time consuming than most people expect. while relying on the car at ease researching manufacturer and installer dealer as the sole source of information about options than those who are more conservative the product’s performance. SmartPower’s research in both Arizona and ing process. 223 respondents Clean Energy Group l 17 l S m a r t Solar Marketing Strategies . the decision-making process Customer Inert Oregon.

Energy Trust of Oregon years. Energy Efficiency Department to provide the whelmed at times. 63 respondents Clean Energy Group l 18 l C l e a n Energy State Program Guide .energytrust. ETO options available. As one focus group panelist said estimates.pdf tion process less onerous for consumers. those who attend solar seminars and signed up on the spot.” the added benefit of serving as a trusted advi- sor – someone who offered advice to custom- However.org/forms/SLE_FS_ResSolar- state programs can help make the solar installa.took more than one year. Examples from programs across the country include: Oregon. “It feels like a full time job. Now. http:// process of installation. which was launched as a pilot. There are many ways that www. This lengthy decision-making process provided heard that customers were frustrated by the the answer to Oregon’s question regarding why difficulty of getting installers to make a site those attending solar seminars had not yet installed visit in order to provide an estimate of the cost a system. This Inerts reported how complex the process is. solar programs have the opportunity to ers without any “sell. a free on-site estimate. often more than two • From focus groups. These energy professionals offered about installing solar. They program. ETO responded by offering cases these customers simply had not installed YET.” Consumers reported take on the important role of trusted advisor and that they then felt more comfortable moving to guide prospective customers through the long forward with their solar installation. SmartPower’s survey showed that in many of installation. Their lack of confidence with utilized home energy auditors from the State technology contributed to a feeling of being over. was often felt lost in the process of researching all the extremely well received by participants.

California is using its Solar America customers the confidence to move forward Cities designation to create SmartSolar. http://www. perienced solar advocates with those going aspx?City=Madison through the process provides the uninitiated with free advice and counsel and gives new • Berkeley. in conjunction with a solar • Oregon’s Solar Ambassador Program matches estimate.so- gram to provide technical assistance and an laroregon.org/get-involved/solar-ambassadors- online mapping tool (Berkeley Solar Map) to program Marketing Plan Action Step #3: REDUCE THE COMPLEXITY 1. credible source of infor. permitting and financing op- mation to help them navigate the complexity tions. Clean Energy Group l 19 l S m a r t Solar Marketing Strategies . Wisconsin. 3. Work with installers to reduce time delays in the process of providing estimates to solar prospects. with pros- fidence about moving forward. existing solar customers. a pro. Consider offering free estimates and/or an energy advisor program to guide prospects through the solar incentive application process.aspx?id=38064 The Energy Advocate performs a high quality home energy audit. who have gone ing time and gives the homeowner more con.ci. created an Energy Advocate pro.• Madison. through the process of installation. http://www. This resource helps identify the best solar en- gram that allows interested solar prospects ac. 2.energy.ca.us/ContentDis- of energy solutions customized for their home. pects who are thinking about solar. Evaluate opportunities to create a solar ambassador program that connects existing solar customers with prospective customers to provide information during the complex decision-making process. a Solar America Cities assess solar potential for any roof in the city. play. ergy options and provides information on cess to an unbiased.gov/Cities. project planning. with their decision to install. Pairing ex- solaramericacities.berkeley. designee. http://www. that helps reduce the decision-mak.

must deal with consumer inertia. sumer insights into an effective strategic di- courage a purchase NOW. 3) make a visit to a store. and lengthy appli. permitting.” The process. the often are hard-pressed to find the time to make program encourages early installations to maxi- solar product choices. With dollars to the customers to reflect a corresponding today’s fast-paced. To encourage forward momentum. they are a significant part of the sales ing a workshop is not doing nothing. overbooked lifestyle. as such. which can compete with mize the incentive’s contribution to total costs. consumers drop in the costs of installation.” This “retail” One. state solar incentive programs should encourage prospective • Energy Trust of Oregon (ETO) addressed cus- customers to continue to move forward and reduce tomer inertia through an aggressive market- the lengthy decision-making process. Even surveys on the rection designed to build incremental solar Internet are crafted to deliver users to websites. 2) sample a product. One of cation forms. marketers use promotional techniques egy. In marketing. Each only with other products within the same category. Focus groups revealed that many solar seminar attendees While solar incentive programs are not specifically felt that. or at play. Get One Free” coupon are simply a device to approach. In doing so. It often Examples of other “retail” approaches being is easier to do nothing and place decisions on the used by states today include the following: perpetual “back burner. sales. will inevitably lead to consumer the most significant strategies to prompt action is inertia and fall out. is an motivate a store visit. financing. ing seminars. “attend- selling solar. The “no interest for one year” excellent example of how to integrate con- promotion is designed to promote value and en. State clean energy programs and solar marketers should use a variety of similar innovative sales pro. there- The over-burdened consumer is the retailer’s enemy. attendees receive a letter. noth- motions to encourage consumers to overcome this ing is more important than “FREE” and no inertia and move towards a solar “sale. ing communications approach. and signed by the Governor. Now. have an important role in the retail process and. ETO changed its communications strat- Therefore. Techniques such as the “Buy “Time to Take the Next Step. time spent at work. with the directive. with a strong call to action. as one participant claimed. fore.” position is better than “first to market. tion in a seminar. with family.M ark etin g strateg y #4 Ove r comin g Custome r i n e rt i a A complex product like solar technology. Employing the retail mindset will help social pressure to engage in the solar process solar programs address what all retailers compete was satisfied by just researching and attend- with – share of mind and share of action.” Therefore. immediately following participa- to motivate consumers to 1) learn about a product. year the solar incentive program provides fewer but also with competition for free time. • Free Solar on New Home. All marketers compete not the use of a declining incentive program. 4) make a purchase.” Clean Energy Group l 20 l C l e a n Energy State Program Guide . not necessarily installing solar. with a It is important to realize that state solar programs two-year decision-making cycle that requires re. search.

Shea received great publicity for creating solar prospects and serve to give consumers the the offer. The short-term making and shorten the installation process. Consider implementing a declining incentive program that encourages customers to act now. These programs connect trusted advisors with 2008. solar is offered on utilized its higher-end Trilogy Green Homes to be Trilogy Homes as an upgrade feature. 4. which allowed them to showcase the confidence to move forward in their decision- features of their high-end homes. Follow- Marketing Plan Action Step #4: HELP CUSTOMERS OVERCOME INERTIA 1. Create a database of interested solar prospects and develop a communications strategy that continues to engage these prospective customers during the long decision-making process. Clean Energy Group l 21 l S m a r t Solar Marketing Strategies . Raise the level of visibility of solar in the marketplace to keep solar in mind.Shea Homes. Florida are excellent strategies for overcoming inertia. and Washington during the month of August. national developer of new homes. promotion was designed to drive traffic. Trilogy Homes offered a free 3 kW solar sys- grams (referred to in the previous section) also tem on homes sold in Arizona. California. ing the promotional period. Use promotional incentives and prospect mailings to encourage forward progress and sales. 3. the first builder to roll out a national solar offer- • The Energy Advisor and Solar Ambassador pro- ing. 2.

the one that they found most motivating. In develop. and Inertia with manage increasing costs. Reliability. Solar Creates Energy Independence. that tainly may not be the most compelling message knowledge alone has not led to a market surge. SmartPower showed focus groups across the country SmartPower tested five positioning statements over 25 images that ranged from strong environ. Solar is Good for the Environment. and to the technology. to images of and Arizona to determine the most compelling solar and wind power installations. and to date. ponent of success in marketing solar energy. However. That is. b. the primary motivation for interest e. SmartPower’s solar marketing research over the past seven years in markets across the country has Many people who install solar on their homes and generally found that the environmental message businesses are motivated by the environmental is not the most compelling to the broad public. customer-focused initiatives will find that they are building a stronger demand for solar across their At the same time. prospective solar customers. SmartPower’s research has found that the environ- mental message does not always resonate with Solar Marketing Research Findings. mental images as what they associated with their The selections included: vision of a solar world. Solar is Good for the Health of Future in markets such as Arizona. good for the environment. with over 75 focus group participants in Oregon mental images to the American flag. These customers understood that the price of energy None of the participants from the focus groups was likely to increase in the future and believed selected “Good for the Environment. but it may not be the The public understands that renewable energy is only or primary benefit for most customers. Complexity. and asked each participant to select focus group members responded to the environ. Not one of the solar message. long-held perceptions about solar power. in markets where there is a market. where a large surge in Generations. benefits that solar offers.” The Clean Energy Group l 22 l C l e a n Energy State Program Guide . need for energy.M ark etin g st rateg y #5 Fin d in g the ri ght message Solar programs that address the first four barriers: solar power could be part of the solution to Cost. a. motivations may solar on their radar screens and bring new customers differ in different regions of the country. It cer. factors influence its customers. Finding the right message is an important com- ing a branding campaign for clean energy in 2003. programs also must try to change strong environmental movement. like Oregon. SmartPower research in 2007 and 2008 found that c. This requires rethinking how every market must determine for itself what solar programs talk about and promote solar power. population growth had created an unprecedented d. in solar was financial stability over time. to which prospective customers respond. Solar is a Good Investment. Solar Makes Energy Sense. Consumers there is a predisposition to consider solar for need a fresh and powerful message that will put environmental reasons.

“ In contrast. Therefore.environmental benefits of solar are known to these words and phrases that reinforced the economic consumers but are not as motivating as other aspects of installing solar were well received.” power of the sun. The key elements of these positioning statements Marketing Implications of the Research. Here are a few noteworthy solar ness at sentences that sounded political in nature. e. respon. websites: For example. we should tap into the strong value message that “solar makes sense.” where it increased in value over time. useful features and easy access to information. However. offer good branding. By a significant margin. Internet. Solar helps lower monthly utility bills. that consumers highlighted as important are: The solar program’s website is a key source of information for solar prospects. starting with Clean Energy Group l 23 l S m a r t Solar Marketing Strategies . references to global warming were negatively construed as “sounding like Al Gore • The “Go Solar California” site encourages and An Inconvenient Truth. Solar energy is non-polluting and friendly information while communicating the renewable. most websites can do a Participants were particularly critical of any phrases stronger job of communicating the economic that they judged “preachy” and expressed wari- value of solar. Solar technology has come a long way in new prospect who is investigating solar power for 20 years.” followed by much like investing in a Certificate of Deposit “Solar is a Good Investment. Solar customers a. reasons to purchase. solar programs should eval- b. those consumers to purchase solar. the first time to ensure the site offers consumer d. Some solar customers viewed installation of solar dents preferred “Solar Makes Sense. Incentives and rebates can reduce the There are a number of solar program websites that cost of installing solar by half. uate their websites from the perspective of the c. Solar technology helps stabilize energy are usually web savvy and do their research on the costs over time.

consistent and addressing the value strategy. 2. The easy FAQ consumers to locate loan and installer re- section makes finding information about sources. The site is friendly and • NYSERDA’s website offers a tool that helps easy to navigate for all users. www. Consumers merely click on their solar easy. 4.org/ county and all the banks and installers in csi/faqs.asp. that territory are listed regionally. http:// www. See www. effectively supporting the value equation of solar. 3.org. Identify the “right” message for the marketplace and ensure that it is clear. All three organizations keting tool to help guide prospective customers support “Solar Now Oregon. their website is user friendly.” The website through the solar purchasing process. Clean Energy Group l 24 l C l e a n Energy State Program Guide .gosolarcalifornia. step of creating one centralized go-to web- site by partnering with the City of Portland A state solar program website is an essential mar- and a local NGO. Review the solar program’s website for its consumer-friendly focus and message. a helpful tool.org/LoanFundLenders/nyser- • Energy Trust of Oregon took the important da/pickbanke4.nyserda. its website’s URL. and SolarNowOregon.html. Marketing Plan Action Step #5 FIND THE RIGHT MESSAGE 1. Thinking like embodies the “solar makes sense” messages a retailer will help solar programs to assess whether and highlights free solar seminars. Perform a communications audit on solar marketing materials to assess the effectiveness and consistency of the message. Identify what additional materials and outreach strategies are required to communicate the solar value story.

SmartPower managed this tomers is not just the job of solar installers and sup. State clean energy programs also are an im. es (green choice offerings) by a municipality and its residents and offers a 1 kW solar panel Identifying creative ways to reach these new cus.M ark etin g strateg y #6 Reac hin g new c ustome r mar kets It is critical to broaden the customer base and • The Connecticut Clean Energy Fund and TRF’s open new markets for solar power. friendly competitions between municipalities portant part of this outreach effort. as an incentive. APS developed a specific mes- sage to target installers by creating “Solar • Energy Trust of Oregon reached out to compa. The • One important target customer group for program targeted installations on 1. Many solar programs across the country are Over 80 communities across Connecticut and providing just such outreach. Makes Sense for Installers” and collateral nies who have already installed solar to enlist material that was distributed at the APS’ their employees as new solar customers. Arizona tops in the city and offered financial incentives Public Service determined that additional in- for those companies who install solar. Examples include: 20 communities in eastern Pennsylvania have met this challenge and earned the designation • San Francisco created “The Mayor’s Solar of Clean Energy Community. growing demand being generated in the cal assistance also are part of this program. booth at a national solar conference. Leveraging to encourage sign-ups. municipal locations. A cor. Founder’s Circle” with a goal of encouraging solar on top of the city’s largest buildings. vis- ibility and great public relations for solar power.500 roof growing solar markets is solar installers. and generate support. porate challenge provides on-site seminars for employees and encourages the companies to offer additional incentives. Phoenix area. program for both organizations and utilized pliers. The winning munici- marketing resources at these target segments will palities install their solar panels in prominent yield results. Clean Energy Group l 25 l S m a r t Solar Marketing Strategies . Each state and Sustainable Development Fund in Pennsylva- solar program has a prospective customer base nia have implemented a Clean Communities that has not yet reached its potential to become Program that promotes clean energy purchas- new solar customers. Mailings stallers would be needed to keep up with the from the city along with site visits and techni.

residential. for example. Solar programs may want to rely on an to ensure buy-in. as well as an approach to evaluate If there are questions about the motivations and the success of specific tactics. addressed within your plan? The rest of the marketing plan includes a budget Step Two: Customer Research and timeline. The process of developing ing strategy to address reliability may include raising an effective plan includes the following steps. The examples customer bases are responding and which are under. timeframes are accounted for. All solar power. Complexity. A market- customers. How will the solar program reach its objectives? A marketing plan is a living. such as commercial and indus- initiatives. are designed to create a call to action and Step Four: Marketing Strategies move customers towards the sales process. Step One: Market Analysis Step Five: Tactics/Implementation Begin by assessing past successes and failures. such strategies relevant to your specific market that as megawatts of installed solar. cited in this report from solar stakeholders across delivering? Are there geographic issues to be the country are examples of marketing tactics. and installers. trial.Developing a Marketing Plan . Which that address the marketing strategy. There may be other attitudes that core customer groups have about resource needs required by the solar program. schools and institutions. Tactics are the specific programs and initiatives Identify what has worked and what has not.How to Begin Marketing is a problem-solving activity. It is also critical that implemen- outside resource such as an advertising agency tation challenges be coordinated with appropriate or marketing consulting group to help with this personnel to ensure that adequate resources and aspect of the plan. that guides activities over a period of usually no Inertia and Message all must be addressed in an more than one to two years and is focused on effective marketing plan. A marketing plan must address core customer segments that are strategy that addresses value. Identifying Step Three: Establish Marketing Objectives and understanding what problems require solving What will the marketing plan accomplish? What is the first and most important step in constructing are the goals? A marketing objective might include an effective marketing plan. Activities within the should be included or receive priority. There may be other achieving quantifiable and measurable goals. Thinking like a retailer a percentage increase or megawatt goal for specific is the key because it will ensure that programs and customer segments. large commercial out-of-pocket costs for solar installations. key stakeholders across the organization should ket analysis will identify the opportunities and review the marketing plan while in development barriers that must be addressed in the marketing to ensure that it is addressing the right issues and plan. such as low-income include offering financial tools that reduce the high housing. tions. visibility of solar in the marketplace. Reliability. breathing document This report suggests that Cost. Clean Energy Group l 26 l C l e a n Energy State Program Guide . or institutional solar installations. a customer research project and mar. as well as communications and promo. might important to the solar program.

Smart Solar Marketing Strategies C o nc l u s i o n Effective marketing guides how. Messages that connect on a financial or approaches that we offer? Are we adequately value level are most likely to succeed.solara. county and state agencies. Through grants from the DOE.energy. www. and where • How are new customers learning about solar? product information is presented to consumers. these cit- our understanding and the effectiveness of ies are engaged in active partnerships with solar our activities? companies. Clean Energy Group l 27 l S m a r t Solar Marketing Strategies . promoting one brand. left any core audiences untouched? tives comes from the Department of Energy’s • Do we understand the consumer barriers to Solar America Cities program where 25 cities purchasing solar that are specific to our mar- have become incubators for new solar marketing ket? Should we initiate research to advance ideas. state solar • Are we providing consumers with value- program managers must view themselves as a criti- oriented financial offerings that make solar cal part of the solar sales process. municipal. Understanding more affordable? what problems need solving and how best to ad- dress them is at the heart of the Solar Marketing • Are consumers aware of the new financial Plan. hitting the right messages? solving initiatives for cities and states looking at • Are there NGO’s and other stakeholders in our their own solar marketing challenges. when. and approaches may be a useful source of problem. promoting the value and affordability of solar? Is it prominently displayed on our website? There are examples of effective solar marketing • Are we targeting the right audiences in our activities all over the country to draw upon. interested customers to act? they can assess “how they’re doing” by asking a series of questions to determine whether solar • How do we create more visibility for solar in marketing efforts are on the right track. utilities. Their with one voice. market that we should be aligning with to ad- mericacities. An market to achieve our objectives? Have we important source of new programs and initia. Should we do more to help? Where are our with the ultimate goal of persuading consumers to best opportunities? purchase solar energy systems. Therefore. NGO’s and universities to identify and • Have we done an inventory of communica- remove market barriers and encourage solar sales tions materials to ensure that we are speaking to residential and commercial customers.gov/ vance our goals and leverage our investment? • How do we overcome inertia and help push As solar programs begin to think like marketers. including: our market? Are there high visibility locations.

and expand the tings to increase interest in solar? customer base for solar energy throughout their markets. • Is there a role for traditional and new media By asking these questions. chambers. sports venues. investment in solar incentives. • Are we cross promoting energy efficiency and crease penetration? solar energy to maximize interest in both? • Do we have a sufficient group of installers in • Are we creating a database of consumers and place? Will we need more? How can we are we using that database effectively? attract them? As states increasingly compete with each other for • Do realtors understand the value of solar and green jobs and clean economies. and by creating a plan in our marketing mix to build awareness? that provides a comprehensive approach to solar • Are there innovative ways to utilize earned marketing. etc) that we should be working with to increase interest in solar power? Clean Energy Group l 28 l C l e a n Energy State Program Guide . • Are there other solar partners (utilities. solar programs will maximize their media beyond press releases and ribbon cut. being savvy solar know how to speak about it effectively? marketers becomes more important than ever. personalities or opportunities that will in. cities and towns. trades.

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the Investment Committee of the Vermont Clean Energy Development Fund. Clean Energy Group (CEG) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing the use of clean energy technologies in the U. a multi-state coalition of state-based renewable energy programs working together to advance clean energy markets. a marketing consultancy practice focusing on nonprofit organizations. and the Board of the U. Mark Sinclair. The Pew Charitable Trusts. He also has served as general counsel to the State of Vermont’s environmental agency. Clean Energy Group Contributing Author and Editor Mark Sinclair is Vice President of the Clean Energy Group and has been working on energy and environmental issues in the public interest for two decades. Lyn currently serves as Vice President of the Board of Directors of the United Way of the Greater Seacoast and is past Chair of the Board of The Greater Boston Food Bank. Lyn has over 25 years of marketing and advertising experience including 18 years at Arnold Worldwide. the Board of the National Wind Coordinating Collaborative. For 12 years Lyn was President of Second Wind Enterprises. He also serves on the Waitsfield Development Review Board. and abroad through creative financing.S. leading SmartPower’s consumer research efforts. public policy and advocacy. Star Island Corporation and World TEAM Sports. United Way of Mass Bay. Clients included: SmartPower. Mark serves on the Board of the Vermont Public Interest Research Group. The John Merck Fund. Offshore Wind Collaborative. Prior to CEG. Mark also is Executive Director of the Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA). SmartPower Principal Author Lyn Rosoff is Deputy Director for SmartPower and has served as Director of Marketing for the past two years. .S.a b o ut th e au th o r s Lyn Rosoff. Mark was senior attorney and vice president with the Conservation Law Foundation of New England. business partnerships. Catch Neighborhood Housing.

SmartPower spreads its message through marketing. nonprofit marketing organization that promotes clean. promotion. public relations. In addition to helping consumers choose clean renewable energy sources. clean energy funds and community groups to promote clean energy to consumers at a grassroots level. DC 20036 Phone: 202-775-2040 Email: LRosoff@smartpower. This research is especially important when 80% of consumers say they believe renewable energy is better than energy produced from fossil fuels and they are willing to spend more to have it. a group of forward-thinking. municipalities.smartpower.SmartPower is a national.W. renewable energy and energy efficiency. SmartPower also provides marketing tools to local organizations so they can market clean energy in their communities Contact: Lyn Rosoff. private foundations and the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund founded SmartPower. Suite 1040 Washington.org . Community Organizing SmartPower builds partnerships with utility companies.org www. state agencies. SmartPower has recently expanded its focus to include energy efficiency and conservation. but less than 3% actually purchase clean. Marketing SmartPower uses its research to construct targeted marketing campaigns to convince consumers to make the switch to clean energy and energy-efficient habits. Research SmartPower conducts research to identify why consumers do not make choices towards a clean energy and an energy efficient lifestyle. These groups believed that renewable energy needed the same consumer marketing techniques that traditional consumer brands use. blogging and social networking. Deputy Director SmartPower 1120 Connecticut Avenue. SmartPower works on three key fronts to advance this mission. N. SmartPower wants to educate consumers about ways they can conserve energy in their day-to-day lives. advertising. SmartPower’s goal is for the nation to produce more clean energy while using less energy. In 2001. solar and hydropower. SmartPower’s award-winning marketing campaigns have created unprecedented demand for wind. renewable energy.

New York Community Trust. business partnerships.S.S.statesadvancingsolar. The John Merck Fund. and others. We invite you to learn more about CEG and its projects at the following websites: www. CEG also works with public officials in Europe interested in trans-Atlantic efforts to build clean energy markets. is supported by the state clean energy funds.cleanegroup. public policy and advocacy. including its work through CESA. CEG works with state and nonprofit officials from across the U.org www. © 2009 Clean Energy Group . Jane’s Trust. information sharing and multi-state strategies to deploy clean energy technologies.org Printed on recycled paper. Clean Energy Group (CEG) is a nonprofit organization established in 1998 to increase the use of clean energy technologies in the U.org www. a nonprofit assisting its member clean energy funds and programs in research. and internationally through innovative financing. CEG. and by major foundations including the Annenberg Foundation. CEG manages the Clean Energy States Alliance. that are responsible for over $6 billion in clean energy funds.cleanenergystates.