One Block Off the Grid (our former owner) has a great post this week on “Why Solar Can’t Go Mainstream Without Sarah Palin.” While I don’t agree with every specific point in the article, I think the general points are very important and it is an excellent overall piece.
The general points are:
- Solar energy is primarily associated with certain people, benefits, or terms that pigeonhole it (i.e. climate change, Al Gore, Obama, the environment, hippies, rich greenies).
- Solar needs to be associated more with topics that are more broadly or deeply important to people (i.e. saving money, national security, financial investment, independence, Conservatives, job creation).
- Key figures in the mainstream media and popular society need to pick up the topic more in order for this shift to happen (i.e. Sarah Palin, Oprah, Donal Trump, Jim Cramer, or Glenn Beck).
As with many things in this world, people are more influenced by people they can relate to and know well (or think they know well) than statistics or impersonal information.
In the case of solar, if you live on the same block as someone who has it, 1BOG has found that you are 222% more likely to go solar.
So, of course, as more people go solar, it should have a sort of snowball effect. But how do you get the initial neighborhood leaders to go solar? One key way would be to get the celebrities they trust, relate to, and whose advice they follow to go solar or encourage their supporters to go solar.
While people like Al Gore, President Obama, Brad Pitt, and Leonardo DiCaprio might have some effect in this arena, they won’t have as strong an effect as people coming from an “environmental protection and climate change aren’t important” perspective or people like Oprah who greatly influence people’s actions.
1BOG came up with this little graphic below to show the theoretical difference visually. Clever.
Now, if we could only get Oprah to read it…
Image Credits: 1BOG