Resonates were proactive to the point where they had usually done what I needed before I had asked for it.
Kerry Burns, general manager, Solarsense

The client 

With its financial incentives and green credentials, solar photovoltaics (PV) has taken the UK by storm. Many see it as a secure investment for their future; both in terms of energy needs and income.

With over 4,000 solar PV installations complete in the south-west, Solarsense is one of the most experienced installers in the UK. In November 2010, it completed a landmark installation at Worthy Farm, home of the Glastonbury Festival. Situated on the roof of the farm’s famous ‘Mootel’ – the cowshed used to house the cows when the festival is on – the installation was the UK’s first 200kWp roof-mounted array. Using over 1,100 panels and covering 1,500m2, it generates enough power to save Worthy Farm 80% of its energy use, eliminates 100 tonnes of CO2 emissions every year and will earn farm owner, Michael Eavis, a guaranteed annual income of £60,000 for the next 25 years thanks to the feed-in tariffs.

Their needs 

Solarsense was keen to promote the Worthy Farm installation to encourage solar adoption across the UK by highlighting the benefits that PV has to offer. Furthermore, a survey by farming sustainability consultants Farming Futures revealed that four out of five farmers wanted solar PV on their roofs within the first three years of the FiTs being in place. Solarsense saw the opportunity to showcase the array to help educate the farming community about the benefits of PV.

What we did 

Using an integrated PR campaign, we helped Solarsense to promote the Worthy Farm installation to the local market, farming community and solar industry. We wrote a case study about the installation that was distributed at the official ‘switching on ceremony’, which was attended by over 100 journalists. We also distributed a number of press releases and placed feature articles in target publications. Our award entry resulted in the installation being shortlisted for ‘project of the year’ at the New Energy Awards. We also secured a speaking opportunity for Solarsense to talk about the installation at one of the leading UK solar conferences.

To help reach the farming community, we promoted a half-day event at Worthy Farm, in connection with Farming Futures, to give farmers an insight into the benefits of solar PV for their business. The day included expert presentations from the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group, Triodos Bank, Good Energy and the National Farmers Union. The day finished with a tour of the Farm’s solar array.

The results 

The PR campaign was a great success. We secured coverage in publications that reached each of our target markets:

  • Local media, including Marlborough Living, Western Counties Express, West Sussex County Times, Bristol Wired, Southern Reporter.
  • Farming publications, including Farmers Monthly, Energy Now, Farmers Weekly, Farmers Guardian, British Dairying, and
  • Solar magazines, including Solar Power Portal, AZO Cleantech, Renewable Energy Focus, Eco Friend News, Solar News Portal
  • The switching-on ceremony resulted in TV coverage on both the BBC and ITV news channels.

The event at Worthy Farm also proved popular. More than 130 farmers from the south-west attended on the day, helping Solarsense to secure a significant pipeline of opportunities.

“We chose Resonates because they had the skills and market knowledge to start working on our campaign straight away. They listened to our needs and understood our requirements perfectly,” said Stephen Barrett, Managing Director at Solarsense. “Resonates has given us some fantastic results and great media coverage.”

“From a management perspective, working with Resonates was a rewarding experience. They were proactive to the point where they had usually done what I needed before I had asked for it,” said Kerry Burns, General Manager, Solarsense. “A very personable team, who delivered over-and-above our expectations and before deadlines loomed. I found the Resonates team a pleasure to deal with at every step.”

Our view 

The connection with the Glastonbury Festival boosted the profile of the Solarsense installation and the scale of the array meant it caught the media’s attention. Organising the event for farmers at Worthy Farm enabled Solarsense to engage one of its key target audiences, generate quality sales leads and maximise the PR value of the project.