First foray into PR puts solar storage startup on the grid

Renewable energy startup Solar Grid Storage was founded in 2011, but it hadn't done any promotion until last fall when Susan DeVico Communications was hired to help drive awareness and sales.

Client: Solar Grid Storage (Philadelphia, PA)
Agency
:  Susan DeVico Communications (Oakland, CA)
Campaign
: Solar Grid Storage launch
Duration
:  September 3, 2013 -- December 2013
Budget
: $8,000

Renewable energy startup Solar Grid Storage was founded in 2011, but it hadn't done any promotion until last fall when Susan DeVico Communications was hired to help drive awareness and sales.

“We're pioneering a new concept for the solar industry, so we have an ongoing need to get the word out to our customers, investors and the finance community, policy makers, and the solar development community,” explains CEO Tom Leyden.

Strategy
Events, media relations, social media outreach, and Solar Grid Storage's website helped drive messaging that positioned the company as a leader and innovator in energy storage.

“Tom and other executives at the company are very well known and respected leaders in the renewable energy arena,” explains agency principal Susan DeVico.  “They're all-stars. It was important to drive awareness that they're [leading Solar Grid Storage], stress the significance and viability of the technology, and bring storage to the forefront of the conversation.”

Tactics
Messaging was developed for technical and lay audiences.

Energy and business reporters and bloggers and trade publications were targeted.  

Leyden and other company executives spoke and gave media interviews at 10 conferences between September and December.

Company executives also participated in two webinars hosted by third parties in November and December.

Solar Grid Storage projects in Maryland and Philadelphia that illustrate the technology's benefit to clients and to the overall energy grid infrastructure in the US were completed and promoted in October. Local media, city and state policymakers, and industry influencers attended dedication events in each city.

“There have been very few renewable storage projects completed anywhere, so showing a viable sustainable model is big news because it means we're hitting the next big phase in renewable energy,” Leyden says.

Pitches were also pegged to Hurricane Sandy's anniversary, as Solar Grid Storage's technology could have helped in rebuilding the energy infrastructure.  

DeVico issued statements from Leyden regarding several regulatory decisions, including an announcement by the California Public Utilities Commission about mandates for including storage in all future energy projects.  

Media coverage and some conference event videos were posted to solargridstorage.com.

Facebook and Twitter pages were established in December.

Results
Leyden says sales increased by about 200% between September and December and momentum continues to build. The campaign also helped drive about 100 new business leads and dozens of calls from prospective investors.

Page views on Solargridstorage.com exceeded 25,400 between September and December, up from a few hundred overall prior to the campaign.

Video of a conference presentation Leyden made in December uploaded to http://www.ustream.tv by conference organizers got nearly 28,000 views.

The two webinars drew a combined audience of about 400.

Stories ran in more than 100 outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, ComputerWorld, GigaOm, and GreenBiz.

More than 18 speaking engagements were scheduled for Solar Grid Storage executives in 2014.

Future
The company will continue working with the agency. Plans include continued promotion of new project milestones, conference participation, and legislative policy developments.

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