Digital Marketing Strategy for Solar Companies

solar-indiaDigital Marketing Strategy for Solar business – This article is created for Solar business companies and entrepreneur  who need help to understand the basics of Digital marketing strategy for Solar plants.  We will use very simple internet marketing strategy and plan to help you with your startups.

Once you are familiar with the basics of online inbound marketing strategy, you can move to other medium  such as outbound marketing.

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Solar Energy Power Growth:

By 2016, the solar energy market in North America will be at 5.1 GW of annual installations with an estimated market size of $14.8 billion. The growth of North America is led by the U.S.; where both photovoltaic (PV) and concentrated solarthermal (CST/CSP) solar power technologies are getting investments.

Future Scope of solar energy in india

solar energy business opportunities in india – Solar power in India is a fast developing industry, with a cumulative installed grid connected solar power capacity of 8,062 MW (8 GW) as of 31 July 2016, In January 2015 the Indian government significantly expanded its solar plans, targeting US$100 billion of investment and 100 GW of solar capacity (including 40 GW from rooftop solar) by 2022. Large scale solar power deployment began only as recently as 2010,

yet the ambitious targets would see India installing more than double that achieved by world leaders China or Germany in all of the period up to 2015 year end.

India Growth rate:

India is ranked number one in terms of solar electricity production per watt installed, with an insolation of 1700 to 1900 kilowatt hours per kilowatt peak (kWh/KWp). On 16 May 2011, India’s first solar power project (with a capacity of 5 MW) was registered under the Clean Development Mechanism. The project is in Sivagangai Village, Sivaganga district, Tamil Nadu. India saw a sudden rise in use of solar electricity in 2010 when 25.1 MW was added to the grid, and the trend accelerated when 468.3 MW was added in 2011.

lets start – It is reported that out of 1.4 billion people in the world who have no access to electricity, India accounts for over 300 million, residing mostly in villages.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates India would add between 600 GW to 1,200 GW of additional new power generation capacity before 2050. The technologies and fuel sources India adopts, as it adds this electricity generation capacity, may make significant impact to global resource usage and environmental issues.

Solar Energy Marketing Plan

First of all We should know about – What is solar energy system?

Solar power is arguably the cleanest, most reliable form of renewable energy available, and it can be used in several forms to help power your home or business. Solar-powered photovoltaic (PV) panels convert the sun’s rays into electricity by exciting electrons in silicon cells using the photons of light from the sun.

What is the use of solar energy?

Solar energy is used today in a number of ways: As heat for making hot water, heating buildings, and cooking. To generate electricity with solar cells or heat engines.

Though environment-unfriendly fossil fuels curently contribute 80 percent of the world’s primary energy, the changing pattern of the pricing model for solar power among many other renewable and sustainable energy alternatives predicts that solar electricity would soon be cost-effective to the fossil fuel electricity, having a potential to become the future energy source.

While 8 percent of India’s total area is barren, 1 percent of land has the potential to produce 2,000 billion Kwh of solar electricity with no need of supply of any raw material. In this context, the current Solar Mission plans to cover 20 million square metres by 2020, to generate up to 20 GW grid-based solar power and 2 GW of off-grid solar power.

Digital Marketing Strategy for Solar Business: Step by step guidelines.

1) Start By Focusing on The Customer

The first thing to think about regarding marketing, whether it’s solar or bouncy balls, is the customer.Any company that begins marketing by talking about how great they are is making a mistake. It’s always about the customer, not about you. What’s in it for them? How will they benefit from your product?

Marketers will tell you to tailor your offerings to the customer’s primary “pain points”. Hunger is a pain point that helps sell food, for instance. For solar, the main pain points are:
  1. Utility bills
  2. Rising costs of fuel
  3. Jealousy
  4. Guilt about emissions and global warming

Facebook Marketing – Social media can be a good way to reach potential customers and other important audiences, especially for residential solar companies. Every day, more top residential solar installers are engaging with consumers on social media.

Online Marketing strategy modules

  • Content Marketing – Inbound
  • Socail Media – Optimization and Marketing
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Pay Per Click Marketing
  • Key Word Management
  • Display Advertisement
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Mobile Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • Podcasting
  • Blogging
  • Webinar

Strategy – 1:

Commit your advertising to educating the customer about the cost savings inherent in solar. If you know when your local utility sends out bills to customers, you may wish to target those days with geotargeted web-based advertising, or local TV, newspaper, and radio commercials.

The secondary customer pain point, the rising cost of fuel, is notable in that it’s different than the utility bill. This pain point is something that occurs to people over time, not just at the one time per month they write a check to their utility.

The difference is that this one builds over time–at some point, the calculator in everyone’s heads starts to urge them to think about their long term financial health. As more news stories are written about the dwindling supplies of fossil fuels and the rising costs of gasoline, people start to understand that the cost of solar, which is fixed every month, is going to be less, in the long run, than continuing down this path.

Strategy –  2)

Talk to your customers about the long term costs of unstable fuel supplies. Coal, oil, natural gas, and other  fossil fuels come with a diminishing supply and an increasing demand–an economic double whammy resulting in unending price hikes. 

Strategy –  3)

Tap into the power of community. If you’re on site to do solar in a neighborhood, go talk to the neighbors. Leave flyers. Ask your customer to refer you to their neighbors. Put up signs that say you were there, and that this person trusted you to put solar on their roof. Leave no stone unturned in local marketing.

The third customer pain point is also one of the 7 Deadly Sins: jealousy. Psychology and Sociology are ironclad and crystal clear on very, very few things, but one thing that seems to be a basic human emotion, regardless of where, when, and who, is that people want to keep up with the Joneses.

If someone in the neighborhood gets solar, it’s a symbol of values, self-sufficiency, independence, and pride. It’s a statement. It’s a vote of confidence in solar technology. But it’s also an eye-catching reminder that your neighbor has taken a step to improve their family’s life…and that you haven’t.

The last customer pain point is the one that is an important secondary consideration. Yes, people are concerned about global weirding/warming. Yes, they don’t like the fact that their hard-earned money goes to support big oil, coal, and natural gas companies that have contributed so much pollution and that give so much money to politicians in order to keep renewables down.

Yes, they feel guilt that they’re contributing to the destruction of their children’s planet every time they flip on a light switch. But according to research published on Cost of Solar, the environmental benefits of solar are a secondary consideration. A full 74% of solar customers wouldn’t have gotten solar if it didn’t pay for itself.

So 26% of the market may be primarily interested in environmental and social justice reasons, but your primary pain points are clearly the financial side of the equation.

Strategy –  4)

Fill your quiver with all the right arrows. If you don’t know your customer’s primary interest in solar, ask. If you’re still not sure, or if they’re not giving you a full answer, be prepared to lead with the financial savings, but to pull out the environmental and social benefits at a moment’s prompting.

Major Advantages of Solar Power 

There are many solar power advantages worth noting. In no particular order (well, perhaps simply the order in which they come to mind), here are some of the top advantages:

Advantage of solar energy is that it is available throughout the peak load demand time of the day and therefore it would substantially bring down the peak energy costs, obviating the need to build additional generation and transmission capacity.

Solar energy conversion equipment systems have longer life and need lesser maintenance with low running costs and hence provide higher energy infrastructure security. Unlike conventional thermal power generation from coal, solar energy generation does not cause pollution and generate clean power.

 

Solar power helps to slow/stop global warming.

Global warming threatens the survival of human society, as well as the survival of countless species. Luckily, decades (or evencenturies) of research have led to efficient solar panel systems that create electricity without producing global warming pollution. Solar power is now very clearly one of the most important solutions to the global warming crisis.

Solar power saves society billions or trillions of dollars.

Even long before society’s very existence is threatened by global warming, within the coming decades, global warming is projected to cost society trillions of dollars if left unabated. So, even ignoring the very long-term threat of societal suicide, fighting global warming with solar power will likely save society billions or even trillions of dollars.

Solar power saves you money.

Putting solar PV panels on your roof is likely to save you tens of thousands of dollars. The average 20-year savings for Americans who went solar in 2011 were projected to be a little over $20,000. In the populous states of New York, California, and Florida, the projected savings were over $30,000. In the sunny but expensive paradise known as Hawaii, the projected savings were nearly $65,000!

Beyond solar PV panels, it’s worth noting that solar energy can actually save you moneyin about a dozen other ways as well — with proper planning and household design choices.

Solar power provides energy reliability. T

he rising and setting of the sun is extremely consistent. All across the world, we know exactly when it will rise and set every day of the year. While clouds may be a bit less predictable, we do also have fairly good seasonal and daily projections for the amount of sunlight that will be received in different locations. All in all, this makes solar power an extremely reliable source of energy.

Solar power provides energy security.

On top of the above reliability benefit, no one can go and buy the sun or turn sunlight into a monopoly. Combined with the simplicity of solar panels, this also provides the notable solar power advantage of energy security, something the US military has pointed out for years, and a major reason why it is also putting a lot of its money into the development and installation of solar power systems.

Solar power provides energy independence.

Similar to the energy security boost, solar power provides the great benefit of energy independence. Again, the “fuel” for solar panels cannot be bought or monopolized. It is free for all to use. Once you have solar panels on your roof, you have an essentially independent source of electricity that is all yours.

This is important for individuals, but also for cities, counties, states, countries, and even companies. I was recently in Ukraine touring various clean tech initiatives and projects. While there, I discovered that Ukraine in recent years has saved approximately $3 billion in reduced oil and gas imports from Russia thanks to the solar power plants developed by a single developer. Impressive.

Solar power creates jobs.

As a source of energy, solar power is a job-creating powerhouse. Money invested in solar power creates two to three times more jobs than money invested in coal or natural gas. Here’s a simple chart on that point:

72% of online adults in the U.S. use social networking sites, representing a huge potential market for your solar business. Social media can help advertise your product and grow leads, but it can also help brand you as an expert on solar in your community

With the  rise of digital marketing and social media, the practice of content marketing–or providing useful information about a product with the intention of influencing customer behavior–has become increasingly more important.

The internet allows companies to become their own publishers and to interact with customers as a source of information, not just product. Websites, social media accounts, blogs, newsletters, photo essays, white papers, videos–all these things add up and give you opportunities to distinguish yourself from your competition and build a relationship with a potential customers.

Solar Power Disadvantages

Solar power disadvantages are actually not so plentiful. In fact, there’s only one notable disadvantage to solar power that I can think of. That disadvantage is that the sun doesn’t shine 24 hours a day. When the sun goes down or is heavily shaded, solar PV panels stop producing electricity.

If we need electricity at that time, we have to get it from some other source. In other words, we couldn’t be 100% powered by solar panels. At the very least, we need batteries to store electricity produced by solar panels for use sometime later.

However, there are a couple of key things to note regarding this solar power disadvantage. Firstly, the sun actually does shine when we need electricity most. As humans (not vampires), our days more or less follow the movement of the sun. Society more or less wakes up when the sun rises.

At the time of the sun’s greatest height and visibility, humans tend to be most active. At this time, we are of course using much more electricity than in the middle of the night, so electricity is in greater demand.

(This also makes electricity more expensive in the middle of the day, making electricity produced from solar panels more valuable.)

Government Support

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy provides a 70% subsidy on the installation cost of a solar photovoltaic power plant in North-East states and a 30% subsidy on other regions. The detailed outlay of the National Solar Mission highlights various targets set by the government to increase solar energy in the country’s energy portfolio.

Government Incentives for Solar Power

As of the end of July 2015, the following are the five most prominent incentives:

1. Accelerated Depreciation: For profit making enterprises installing rooftop solar systems, 40% of the total investment can be claimed as depreciation in the first year. This will significantly decrease tax to be paid in Year 1 for profit making companies.

2. Capital Subsidies: Capital subsidies are applicable to rooftop solar power plants, up to a maximum of 500 kW. While the original capital subsidy was 30%, it has recently been reduced to 15%.

3. Renewable Energy Certificates: Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) are tradeable certificates that provide an incentive to those who generate green power by providing financial incentives for every unit of power they generate.

4. Net Metering Incentives: Net metering incentives depend on two aspects: a) whether the net meter is installed; and b) the incentive policy of the utility company. If there is a net metering incentive policy in our state and if there is a net meter on our rooftop, then we can get financial incentives for the power generated.

5. Assured Power Purchase Agreement (PPA): The power distribution and purchase companies owned by state and central governments guarantee the purchase of solar power as and when it is produced. The PPAs offer a high price equal to that of the peaking power on demand for the solar power which is secondary power or negative load and an intermittent energy source on daily basis.

Subsidies & Incentives

Several incentives are available for rooftop solar PV plants worldwide. While the specifics of the incentives could vary from country to another, these incentives broadly fall under the following categories:

  • Accelerated Depreciation
  • Capital Subsidy
  • Income Tax Credits

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