Many local solar installers agree that their main task is educating customers, lawmakers and building inspectors about solar. Local solar contractors are in a unique position to advocate for solar because they are at the crossroads of job creation, community involvement, and evolving technology. Opinion articles penned by community members are crucial for raising awareness about the solar industry. Below are some simple steps to writing your first op-ed article in a local news publication.
Don't Sell. Educate.
Avoid the temptation to sound like a closeout mattress sale. Instead, identify an issue or misconception that impacts local home and business owners from going solar. These topics could range from recent net metering policy changes to perhaps writing a counter op-ed to an anti-solar post. For example, Zaide Olesiw wrote this opinion piece arguing for the benefits of solar net-metering in response to a John T. Smith’s article arguing for lower net metering rates.
Possible topics for an op-ed
- Solar misconceptions
- Change in net metering policy
- Utility fees on solar customers
- Response to an anti-solar op-ed
- Frequently asked questions solar
Submitting and Pitching
When getting your article published, editors screen for timeliness, relevance, professional credentials, and how local the idea is. First, you must answer “why now.” This timely hook gives you the edge of being newsworthy. When submitting the article it is also important to summarize your idea in a few sentences. Also be sure to include to include your credentials: how long your business has served the community, NAPCEP certification, number of people you employ locally, and the overall reach of your business. Finally, keep it local. A national solar trade group can only go so far of catching the regional values; however, a local installer with communities ties can make tangible differences in local neighborhoods.
If you have an opinion piece you wish to pitch to a newspaper, blog or online journal and you would like help, please email me at email@example.com.