For the average consumer going “green” is something they would be in favor of as long as it doesn’t come with an additional cost or is too inconvenient. There is an expectation that in order for consumers to embrace something new it has to be convenient, cost effective and provide them with some kind of immediate benefit.

So what can green energy and green product marketers do to make their case? For solar powered homes the perception is that the cost of entry is far too expensive for most people so they stay connected to the grid and shrug off green power as something that is for big industry to embrace. Much of this is reviewed on

Solar manufacturers such as First Solar and Skyline Solar target commercial, industrial, education and government concerns in sunny areas of the world but what about residential manufacturers?

Manufacturers and installers such as SolarCity, Akeena Solar and Kyocera offer useful information such as rebates and financing to residential customers, but they still have to persuade the average home owner to get past the sticker shock for the upfront costs. Their websites offer all kinds of information on government incentives and seminars – but what they really need is to get the word out and start getting references from satisfied home owners.

From this writers perspective the solar industry, as it pertains to the residential market, is set up as though it’s a hobby for a select group of people who are seeking information and not as a viable industry that is actively engaging and marketing to consumers with the message “Attention homeowner, you NEED Solar Energy and here’s why!”

Marketing solar energy to the average home owner needs to be aggressive, entertaining and informative. Brian Keene of Smart Power wrote in The Huffington Post that solar power should be seen as “buying into a lifestyle” and that lifestyle needs to be marketed now. Keene goes on to state that ultimately “the bottom line is: it takes American consumers a long time to finally go ahead and purchase solar power. The industry needs to be patient and persistent!”

June 30, 2010 update: According to

“A new survey conducted by Applied Materials, Inc. reveals that two-thirds of Americans believe solar technology should play a greater role in meeting the country’s energy needs. In addition, three-quarters of Americans feel that increasing renewable energy and decreasing U.S. dependence on foreign oil are the country’s top energy priorities.

According to the survey, 67 percent of Americans would be willing to pay more for their monthly utility bill if their utility company increased its use of renewable energy and 49 percent of consumers polled would be willing to pay $5 or more each month for an increased amount of renewable energy—a 14 percent increase from the results of Applied Materials’ 2009 survey.”

With the Gulf oil spill still gushing and our dependence still intact, it is high time that the solar, wind and alternative energy sectors invest into some serious marketing that will persuade all of us that this is what we need right now.

This article is also on Science Creative