What is the Get Solar Campaign?
The Get Solar Campaign will be a collaborative initiative to provide a consistent commercial focus for all the solar energy optimisation industry groups, key manufacturers and companies involved in solar energy products.
Solar energy is now cheap enough but we need government to establish a fair price for selling energy back to the grid. We need a level playing field based the true cost of carbon pollution.
Collective action is obviously already happening via great organizations such as the Sustainable Energy Association of Australia the PV Associations, Sustainable Industries Association and many others such as community group ‘Sustainable Energy Now.’ But more intense focus is required to get tangible results in the marketplace.
Our company Wise Earth Pty. Ltd., the owner of the solar-e.com website has registered the Get Solar Campaign and is offering free directory listings on the website for solar-related industries and services around Australia, with the plan to promote the directory globally in the next twelve months.
Background of solar-e.com
For 11 years this website has chipped away at promoting the use of solar energy in all its forms. It has always been there to support any solar energy related endeavour that can break down the barriers to the implementation of solar energy technologies. The website exists to promote new ideas and technological advances that may make solar energy in it various manifestations more economically viable.
Starting in 2000 our solar energy facts website flew in the face of the ‘dot-com’ bubble mainly because we were not using other people’s money like most did at the time. What helped was it had a solid idealistic philosophy behind it that kept us going. When the internet frenzy at that time was at its craziest, it was a tough decision to stick to the idea that websites should exist to positively affect the way people think about the world and their environment.
The co-founders of the website [myself with colleague Dr Bill Parker] already knew that solar energy was urgently needed. The point was how could it be introduced as quickly as possible?
What is the aim of solar-e.com?
Over the last 12 years a great amount of time and capital resources have been employed to give this portal a global focus. The intent was to attract people from all walks of life to interact with the authors of articles and disseminate ideas and information. The Get Solar Campaign is our latest initiative.
Effective Government Initiatives
Since the early days of the website we have seen how effective government action can be in developing the solar industry – this was particularly evident when the feed-in tariff and appropriate rebates were introduced in Australia. Lately we have seen how devastating it was to new businesses when the initiatives are subsequently reversed or reduced. We want The Get Solar Campaign to help drive positive change.
The Challenge to the Solar Energy Industry
Irrespective of government policy, the challenge to the solar industry remains in attracting more buyers for solar hot water systems and PV systems. The reality is that advertising solar energy in an ad-hoc and independent manner, in competition with the streamlined campaigns of fossil-fuel-driven technologies, is really doing ‘hard yards’ when it comes to creating public acceptance.
Advertising campaigns for new technologies are expensive and have dismal results when trying to compete with established competitor technologies which are already well-entrenched in the market place.
We need a well thought out programme of ‘attraction marketing.’ We need to create new markets for solar energy technology. By joining the Get Solar Campaign, industry participants will amalgamate their promotion and information efforts with a focus for the best outcome for the entire get solar industry.
We will use a longer-term strategy rather than simply burning money on ad-hocadvertising.
Collective Action Needed
I believe we need specialized collective action on marketing for the selling all types of solar systems and promoting get solar to the general population. The Australian Solar Energy Society CEO, John Grimes, and his colleagues, were very effective in 2010/2011 at affecting government policies and soliciting public support.
In so doing they have been able to continually bring many of the solar energy industry movers and shakers together in well-coordinated national actions. But individual companies also need to help themselves. By acting in a collaborative manner through the Get Solar Campaign we believe positive results will be more definite and longer-lasting.
The last few years have been a very exciting and dynamic period for the Australian Solar Energy Society and the get solar industry generally. Because of the approach being taken, this year may prove to be another year of dramatic change for the solar industry, especially when supported by the efforts of the Get Solar Campaign.
The various associations have been concentrating on standards, codes of practice and training – these are all credibility builders with authorities.
The big driver to change will be the higher efficiency and falling prices of technologies making them commercially competitive so the general population are encouraged to get solar as their renewable energy choice.
The Future With solar-e.com
Believing that joint industry promotion and attraction marketing techniques are the way forward to create new opportunities for the solar energy industries, the solar-e.com website will be put into action for these initiatives. Our growing network of associated and affiliated professional colleagues is definitely making a difference.
Technology development and improved interaction with key industry players is our target promotion for 2012.
The first phase for the Get Solar campaign will be working with the solar hot water heaters and PV industries in Western Australia. Thereafter the Get Solar Campaign will take the solar energy promotion activities national. The third phase will be global.
The Way Forward for the Solar Energy Industry
In recent years, with the introduction of renewable energy systems, it was difficult for industry to find clear focus.
A new ‘high ground’ but commercially focused approach by working industry groupings in tandem with the Society and Industry Associations is needed to offset the relatively high costs of individual ‘market creation’ or market expansion initiatives.
As with the ‘Collaboration of Australian Solar Hot water’ (CASH) set up in 1998, the Get Solar Campaign will take up the challenge involve companies already active in this pioneering form of solar energy technology and get them together once again.
We used to lead the world in Australia. It is time for a re-birth.
Refer to the CASH initiative in 1998.
As a corporate group we can better sell the notion of applying this technology and ensure that the majority of homes have solar energy systems installed.
Industry and Community organizations as a matter of course tend be based on issues of the day and broad-brush policy submissions. To complement this type of representation there is definite scope for direct corporate business building within close collaborative networks. It has worked before and needs to again.
As part of this solar-e.com directory of solar energy companies, we will be noting which entities are members of the Australian Solar Energy Society as well as other key organizations. We want to promote the associations to the public as offering a visible ‘quality seal of approval’ as purchase decisions are made.
Get Solar Campaign is on its Way
Industry or community comments are welcomed on-line.
“Team work is the key to success with a venture like this. We are therefore interested to field expressions of interest to help Australian business to ensure that the public go and GET SOLAR” (Garry Baverstock, 2012)
Garry Baverstock AM is an architect and one of the principals of Ecotect-Architects, director of Wise Earth Pty Ltd that owns and managers a number of solar oriented businesses initiatives including www.solar-e.com
and the Get Solar Campaign.