As someone who lived in Connecticut for a long time and has to listen to family complain about some of the highest electricity rates in the nation, anything that brings renewable and more affordable energy to the state is beneficial. The rightful concern about harming smaller-scale solar and wind can be remedied by larger and more specific carveouts for that technology to the RPS. Likewise the state should be praised for thinking outside the box and looking for market-based mechanisms rather than just relying on an RPS to increase renewable energy. The state is a leader in developing the "green bank" concept. And DSIRE has a copious list of incentives - http://www.dsireusa.org/incentives/allsummaries.cfm?State=CT&&re=0?=0
Thanks Tor. You'd be amazed how many meetings you can set up beforehand to ensure that you're making the most of your time. And, your tweet-ups are always good networking opportunities. Great to put faces to Twitter handles.
Tor, great job differentiating between strategy and tactics. I'd make one modification to your suggestion about refreshing ad content and visuals. Repeating your value proposition is the key to ensuring that it gets reflected back to you in the media and is heard by your audience. I recommend to clients that they make sure to their main message is a part of all their communications (e.g. news releases, ads, social media) to ensure that it's getting through to your audience. But, as you point out, you don't need to say it verbatim each time and it makes sense to look for fresh ways to convey that message.
SolarFred, you make an interesting point. What concerns me is that we have to put down people who, for example, put flax seeds on their granola every morning or work for a company that may happen to like saving tigers. Those things are already being stigmatized by the people who use "environmentalist" as a derogatory term. I know we have to reach new audiences with the economic argument, but can't we do so in a positive light.
I'd like to see us highlighting the diversity of people who benefit from solar. I've talked to plenty of farmers, ex-military and others in traditionally conservative demographics that love solar. Would be great to see the same people you'd see in a Ford truck ad saying: "solar saves me money."
Cliff, you're right, they've got PV to sell and I'm really excited that companies like SunRun are being aggressive about letting consumers know that they can control how they get their electricity.
DrAlexC, I've worked with Steve for a while now and he's a total professional. And as you can see, he's participated in this comment thread, so it's totally unnecessary to say he doesn't have gumption. REW has one of the best forums out there for open discussions (like this) about communications and marketing in the clean energy industry.
Innovation is going to be a huge need for the U.S. solar industry this year with so much policy uncertainty. Definitely, as Bill mentions, on the technology side to squeeze the most electricity out of a PV system. But also on the installation side and on the financing side to maximize the ITC. And there must be innovative ways to lower the soft costs of solar systems.
Another suggestion for #2 - The Solar Foundation (http://www.thesolarfoundation.org) is also doing a lot of good work to increase solar adoption through education and research.
Tor, thanks for helping put this together. Looks like you had a good turnout. Sorry I couldn't make it earlier.