CleanWatch Notables – November 2013

As we get ready to chow down on Turkey and give thanks for our country, let us reflect on the most current cleantech marketing and newsworthy trends, and how we’re continuing to make tremendous strides in the industry.

Marketing Trends: Social Media and knowing your audience

Over the past decade, experts have been urging companies to use social media platforms to help them stay at the forefront of technology and effectively engage their audiences. Many mom-and-pop cleantech companies make use of their websites, but hardly utilize social media at all. That’s not to say every company should go out and launch a full-fledged social media campaign-you have to know if your target market is in the social media space to be effective. But in today’s marketing landscape, companies should reevaluate their online presence through different social channels, like LinkedIn, which is responsible for 64% of all visits from social media channels to corporate websites, according to econsultancy.

What about other platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest? All of these platforms can be helpful in bringing traffic to your website. But the question remains, where is your target market? If you’re a B2B company looking for a specific contractor, Facebook may not be the best place to look for your customers. If you are a solar contractor looking to engage residential homeowners, you need to ask yourself, where are these homeowners getting their information and how can I insert myself into that platform? More specifically: What are the key demographics of these homeowners and how do you target the message at them?

The solar industry recently began to look more closely at its target audience and realized that among residential consumers, most decision makers in going solar are women. According to The Energy Collective, women account for 80% of household spending, yet 70% of women feel misunderstood by marketers.

What we then need to figure out is how and where can we properly market solar towards women? This led to an engaging #SolarChat through Twitter, where industry professionals were able to discuss (over tweets) the best methods of marketing solar effectively to women.

Where the Wind Blows

We all know that solar is one of the fastest growing energy industries in the U.S. Other sectors of renewables don’t get as much media coverage or the same degree of governmental policies backing them. Despite the instability of federal tax policies on wind, wind power technology is continuing to advance technologically and lower the bottom line cost, and it’s the cheapest option for new electricity generation in most regions, according to CleanTechnica.

Here is the latest buzz about wind:

  • According to Sustainblog, by the end of 2013 the world total for offshore wind capacity should exceed 7,100 megawatts, hitting its seventh annual record.
  • To keep on track with its goal to produce as much renewable energy as it consumes by 2020, IKEA has purchased a wind farm in Alberta, Canada, according to TriplePundit.
  • The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) says utilities are investing more in wind power.
    • Utilities have signed over 5670 MW of new PPAs
    • Utilities received approval to build over 1870 MW utility-owned wind power
    • New wind projects are helping wind manufacturing companies to increase hiring
    • 2013 wind power construction is over 2300 MW
    • New research by PJM quantifies the environmental and economic benefits of wind power

Virginia Spotlight

This year’s gubernatorial elections left Virginia with a new Governor, Terry McAullife, an advocate for renewable energy. At a time where Virginia is on the verge of breaking into renewable industries as successful as their neighboring states such as Maryland and the District, McAullife is leading the state at a most opportune time.

In an interview with Politico McAuliffe said, “As governor, I never want another coal plant built. I want us to build wind farms, biomass, biodiesel and solar. That’s my emphasis.” McAullife’s website provides insight on the wind opportunities in Maryland. NREL reports that there is over 1000 MW of wind power that can be captured onshore, which could result in over 1500 new jobs. Additionally, Virginia Coastal Energy Research Consortium estimates that offshore wind could generate 10% of Virginia’s total energy use and create around 10,000 new jobs.

“We definitely have an opportunity here with the election of McAuliffe,” said Francis Hodsoll, President of E&E Frontiers, an energy and emerging technology advisory firm, in an interview. “Now we need to think about how we create more options and find what pushes the ball down the field.”

Written by

Danielle is a partner and Senior Account Executive for Eco Branding. She is passionate about bringing her communications expertise to the cleantech industry. Danielle has over 7 years of public relations experience in different industries. She has a B.A. from the University of Maryland in Communication and Psychology with a focus in Public Relations. Danielle is a guest contributor for Renewable Energy World and Alternative Energy Magazine. Based in New York, Danielle enjoys hiking, camping, music and good beer!