Why I Like This Solar Marketing Campaign

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"Why I Like This Solar Marketing Campaign"

Clean energy has become a huge part of the political campaign this year. And certainly not in a good way. The last election cycle, all the candidates went out of their way to express their support for renewables. This year, 81% of attack ads have been about energy — many of them directly attacking technologies like solar.

With the renewable energy industry suddenly finding itself in a brutal political battle, it’s easy for many of us to get wrapped up in push back in this post-Solyndra world.

That’s why I like the ad campaign below so much. Produced by the solar services company SunRun, the ads completely avoid the exhausting political debate and put solar in a humorous frame that people can relate to — similar to a beer or car commercial. By treating solar like any other consumer product, these ads help normalize the industry.

Ultimately, this is the type of marketing campaign that — if scaled properly¬† — has the potential to drown out the vicious, false attacks from political organizations like Americans for Prosperity and American Crossroads.

Too bad companies like SunRun don’t have tens of millions of dollars to throw around for national advertising.

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14 Responses to Why I Like This Solar Marketing Campaign

  1. prokaryotes says:

    Another actual point not addressed here is that during power outages ( bad weather, malfunction, software failure etc etc) people with a solar panel on the roof can still generate.

    This really will be buzz thing and many neighbourhood will advertise this soon. Because people who own a house want energy, especially during emergencies. The next snowmargeddon, np just clean the shingles…

    Ofc, wind damage can occur, but this is a job motor – that’s how things change.

  2. Artful Dodger says:

    “during power outages ( bad weather, malfunction, software failure etc etc) people with a solar panel on the roof can still generate”
    Not necessarily. In many jurisdictions, gridded tied systems automatically shutdown during a blackout. This is done to avoid energizing the power lines which could potentially be a danger to repair crews.

    • joyce says:

      I generate nothing with the grid down. If I had opted to pay 6 – 7K more, I could have charged a battery backup, but that has problems as well. I like the idea of eventually using an EV to power some in the house in a blackout. Those are marvelous ads! I’ll send along.

    • SecularAnimist says:

      Artful Dodger is correct with regard to grid-connected PV systems without batteries — they are designed to shut down during a grid outage so as not to electrocute utility repair crews.

      If you want electricity from your solar panels during a grid outage, then you need to get batteries installed, and the appropriate grid-connection equipment that “knows” to automatically disconnect you from the grid during an outage. Such systems are more expensive (mainly due to the cost of the batteries), but not exotic — any mainstream PV installer should be able to sell and install it properly.

      • prokaryotes says:

        Well, then i would recommend to get a battery as well.

      • Brooks Bridges says:

        There must be a good reason why a no-battery system can’t be disconnected automatically also – but not obvious to me.

        But with no batteries in system, you’ll only have power when sun shines so of limited value for long power outages anyway. Not likely to save your freezer contents, no lights at night, etc.

        • James Prescott says:

          The auto-disconnect is easy. The problem is that pure PV isn’t suitable to just pump into your home’s power outlets. Even on nice days the PV output will fluctuate due to clouds; on marginal days the output is going to be all over the place. Without something able to fill in the gaps on a second by second basis you end up with hundreds of brownouts and outages and likely lots of broken appliances.

          • oonrahnjay says:

            True, but the “pivot” of a grid-tie system is what’s called a “transfer switch”*. It senses power from the grid and your solar system – anytime the grid is down, it automatically disconnects from the grid (this is important – it prevents feedback into the grid; utility worker safety is vital here, but there are issues of grid equipment being damaged by feedback, too) and connects your home-grown power into your home circuits. The system also senses when your solar input is above what you’re using; in this circumstances, it disconnects your grid input so you’re not buying power. The most sensitive systems also allow you “sell” extra power you’re making to the grid.
            The right modern equipment with the right setup is amazing about what it can do.
            On the other hand, many people have problems making the “dollars and cents” work. In terms of money invested in equipment, upgrades, maintenance, and programming, most people put in more money than they ever save from reductions in grid power costs. Of course, there are other benefits — the ability to be self-sufficient (I live in one of the Hurricane Alleys) and the knowledge that one is reducing the impact of fossil fuels and other environmental dangers, so it’s worth it FOR ME. I’m just hoping that we will soon see components that are less expensive, more long-lasting, more reliable, and less reliant on environmentally dangerous rare metals and chemicals. But we’re getting there.
            (* That’s what it’s called by my equipment companies and other suppliers, there may be other terms used by others, the practical operation is the same.)

      • Duncan Noble says:

        Artful Dodger is correct. I have a 5 kW grid-connected system in Ontario, Canada. If the grid is down, so am I – no power and no revenue from my solar generation (FIT). To have power when the grid is down, you need a more complex and expensive inverter, plus batteries, plus a bit more. The additional cost is not justifiable. A generator and GenerLink is a much cheaper if you need power for your freezer, well pump, etc.

  3. prokaryotes says:

    Other dimensions..

    Saudi Arabia Plans $109 Billion Boost for Solar Power

    The capital cost of installing the 41,000 megawatts should be around $82 billion, al-Odan said. The rest of the $109- billion investment will go to train the Saudis to run the solar plants as well as for maintenance and operation, he said. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-05-10/saudi-arabia-plans-109-billion-boost-for-solar-power.html

  4. Makan says:

    Great ads! Nice simple message… “do it to save money”.

    Neat humour that works for greenies who can smile at themselves and non-greenies who like to laugh at them.

  5. adelady says:

    If you like humour in this kind of ad, you’ll love “Jenny” and “Dennis” in these energy efficiency, save money promos. Solar’s just taken for granted. It’s not mentioned, but it is on the roof of both households.

    http://www.campaignbrief.com/2011/11/gpyr-launches-new-campaign-to.html

  6. prokaryotes says:

    How to Store Solar Energy in Batteries

    Solar energy is a form of alternative energy that can be used to power your home. Solar energy, as it is generally conceptualized, is energy directly stored from the sun’s rays. A traditional solar energy system requires several components, including solar panels to collect the energy, a charge controller to prevent overcharging of batteries, a power inverter to transform the energy into usable power, and batteries to store the power. Connecting your solar energy system to batteries allows you to store the collected solar energy for use when the sun is not out. http://www.ehow.com/how_7587552_store-solar-energy-batteries.html

  7. Jeff Wilson says:

    The whole issue of storing power for outages can be addressed by having an electric vehicle or plug-in hybrid in your driveway . . . then, during an outage, you can draw emergency power from the vehicle’s battery pack.

    This “triple-use” battery not only runs your vehicle and is available for emergency power, but it also can be used in a Smart-Grid situation to even out power loads across the grid whenever vehicles are plugged in.

    The “anti-clean power” crowd will get on board when gasoline is $10/gallon – and it’s going there no matter what due to simple supply and demand. Oil-producing countries know that “the end is nigh” and are running astronomically huge current account surpluses to hedge against it.

    This means trillions of dollars held out from the worlld economy, worsening current issues.

    Get a Deep Energy Retrofit on your home – then get solar, get a plug-in hybrid or electric vehicle, and get the Smart Grid.