The solar industry’s been buzzing over the positive U.S. growth numbers in the SEIA’s Q2 2012 U.S. Solar Market Insight report, released last week--just prior to Solar Power International (SPI). Reading the report with communicators’ hats on, the Schwartz MSL team noticed a few cautionary words slotted into the executive summary that resonate strongly with those of us who plan and execute strategic PR campaigns on behalf of our solar clients.
SEIA notes that the three main segments into which they divide the solar market (residential, non-residential, and utility) all faced very different sets of market conditions, and, therefore, understandably, grew differently over the second quarter. The report urges readers to evaluate these individual segments independently, to avoid coming to any erroneous conclusions about the market as a whole by lumping them together.
This guidance is certainly common sense for industry veterans, but having a more granular understanding of the solar industry and its policy landscape is also an important watchword for communicators.
Because nation-wide energy policies like the federal ITC are vastly outnumbered by state-specific policies like renewable portfolio standards, performance-based incentives, net metering programs, and REC markets, truly effective PR must be based on knowing not only which types of policies act as levers on the various market segments, but also on tracking the status of those policies in specific, strategically important geographies.
Staying on top of developments with these policies, and mapping this knowledge onto changing business priorities lets a communications team mobilize quickly, hone in on important markets, and tell a company’s story quickly, cogently, and effectively.(Photo by Crispin Semmens, and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons License)
Posted by Dave Lipson on September 14, 2012 at 4:48 PM