People are intrigued by, if not obsessed with, Hollywood and celebrities. It’s been that way for a very long time now. There are countless magazines, shows and even entire TV channels whose sole purpose is to give us normal folks a look into the lives and goings-on of stars. And you know what: I’m starting to think the solar industry should begin taking further advantage of society’s love of celebrities.
For example, installation company Solar Alliance Energy Inc. recently announced that Captain Kirk has gone solar. Yep, proving that the promise of solar power is far from science fiction, William Shatner, an actor whose long career included the iconic role as Captain James T. Kirk in the Star Trek franchise, added a 6.3 kW solar array at his Los Angeles home. Solar Alliance collaborated with Shatner and installed his project as part of the company’s promotional campaign, called “Join the Alliance – Save Money, Save the World.”
Shatner said in the announcement, “I am committed to creating a better world through action, and this is one small step toward a cleaner future that is less dependent on fossil fuels. I am proud to be part of an alliance of homeowners who have made the switch to solar. You can save money and help the planet by going solar. I did!”
Although it wasn’t exactly hard-hitting news, I considered the announcement amusing and worth sharing with readers. However, there was no telling what a huge reaction the news item would receive: It became one of the most popular items on our website in recent past, with subscribers and non-subscribers alike spreading it all over social media. I’d like to think my cutesy wordplay regarding Shatner’s Captain Kirk character and solar power’s departure from science fiction generated all of the fanfare – and one of my particularly favorite tweets from a reader was “Live long and prosper… with solar” – but it’s more likely that the news item garnered so many clicks because, in general, it was about a celebrity.
As mentioned, people are attracted to stars. In addition to the Shatner item on our site, previous ones including solar companies’ sponsorship agreements with golf pros, sports teams and venues, as well as policy items in which musicians like Jimmy Buffett or Sammy Hagar championed solar, gained a lot of attention.
Such items are not only often fun and interesting, but also helpful to the solar sector overall. Like all other industries, the solar sector needs strong promotion and popular, familiar faces advocating its products to the public. Celebrities are already in the spotlight, so when possible, industry players should use that situation to turn the spotlight onto solar. Rather than soda or a luxury car, though, celebrities would be promoting money savings, energy independence, and, as Shatner said, “a cleaner future.” Meanwhile, the general public would think, “Hey, if celebrities are installing or advocating for solar, why shouldn’t I?”
Obviously, such sponsorships cost money or some other form of collateral, but it might be worth the investment – both for your company and for the industry’s success. If you have the resources, I say go for it. If you don’t, no worries: Instead, I urge you to keep sharing solar-related news involving celebrities with everyone you know. Sponsorships and other deals aside, myriad celebrities often already make headlines when discussing clean energy and the broader cause to protect the environment.
Though he’s more a politician than a celebrity, look at what Al Gore did for climate change awareness with his documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” back in 2006, and he has continued his mission over the years. When Arnold Schwarzenegger served as the state’s governor, he helped perpetuate renewable energy in California. To this day, the action star still stands up for renewables and against climate change. In addition, Mark Ruffalo, Leonardo DiCaprio, and many other well-known actors are strong clean energy and environmental activists. (I propose a new movie in which Schwarzenegger and Ruffalo – the Terminator and the Hulk, respectively – battle global warming!)
Anyway, my point is that there are famous solar advocates, and the industry should use that to its advantage. Solar companies and industry organizations already do an outstanding job of advertising and promoting the benefits of solar power, but every little bit of good publicity helps. Celebrities – or the mention of celebrities – can offer that extra flair. However, let’s not forget that the sun, which provides us with invaluable solar energy, is the biggest star of all. (Pun highly intended, of course.)