For years solar was too darn expensive. Companies like One Block Off the Grid emerged and introduced a new way to purchase solar power using a cooperative model to lower the price. They have a tiered pricing structure . The more people who sin up the better the price of the system. Recently, In Connecticut, SmartPower, using the same cooperative model with an added marketing twist, successfully increased solar purchasing to a level greater than Connecticut residents had purchased in the prior seven years.
What is the marketing twist?
During my video interview with Brian Keane, CEO of SmartPower, he explained the Company’s successful marketing strategy, the solarize model. Their model is similar to One Block Off the Grid’s model. So, honestly, I didn’t really see how the solarize model was any different than One Block’s.
Keane beg to differ, and I was all “skeptical” ears.
People buy, according to Keane, if they want or need a product. In the case of solar, Keane explained, in order to increase solar buy-in to drive the price down, a solar marketer must establish an added value proposition to prospective buyers.
Naturally, I thought the value proposition is either energy savings or environmental responsibility. My assumption was dead wrong.
Picture a perplexed look on my face.
In a nutshell, Keane uses a hybrid of “keeping-up-with-the-Jones” and the “iPhone-gotta-have it” marketing methodology. People buy since it is cool to have solar and because their neighbor has it. So, how does Keane get the “neighbor” to buy? His company enlists community volunteers to encourage others to install solar.
Much to my surprise, it works. Read on why.
The Proof is in the Pudding
In Spring 2012, the Company teamed up with Connecticut’s Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA) and launched Solarize Connecticut, a four town solar campaign. During the 20 week campaign the number of solar installations in every community nearly doubled compared to the previous 7 years. Read Let’s Solarize Solarize Connecticut, Phase 1 Report for more information.
Astonishingly “[a]bout 20% of those choosing solar under this model had never thought about acquiring solar power before,” according to SmartPower.
So, does Keane have the secret sauce? Watch the video or listen to the podcast above as Keane explains his marketing strategy and why people in the past haven’t purchased solar. You won’t be disappointed.
What About Me?
Check the website to find out if a SmartPower’s program is in your area. In the event the Company doesn’t have a current project in your area, contact the company to show your interest.
Join the Conversation:
- Did you participate in the Connecticut program and if so, why did you ultimately purchase solar?
- Do you think the value proposition of solar is being cool or simply an enlightened awareness of how to reduce energy consumption?
Pictures from SmartPower.
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So interesting!! We had a solar consult and they told us we’d have to cut down the giant tree that shades our house and allows us to not have A/C. So that didn’t seem to make sense. I can’t wait for the vertical solar, so we can install it on our side wall. It will happen!!
Anna@Green Talk says
Rachel, could you build the solar in your yard instead? They do have vertical solar. http://www.wattlots.com/wattwalls-solar-panels.asp. You usually see in commercial settings but notice the picture of it on the apartment house. Anna
James Paulson says
Great suggestions, Anna! Any tips for somehow integrating a solar panel in your living space if you’re a renter?
Anna@Green Talk says
James, that is a tough one since as a renter, you can’t install solar on the roof. Anna
Nick Tedesco says
Solarize and other programs that get more homeowners to acquire solar power will go a long way to help our country tap into this enormous energy source. Unfortunately, millions of Americans think that solar is still too expensive. The word just has not really gotten out yet. While the large leasing companies have helped many to go solar, they could have helped many more if they weren’t so expensive. Affordable solar is here now. You just have to know where to look.