Rhode Island Seeks Marketing Agency

Rhode Island Seeks Marketing Agency

Rhode Island Commerce Corporation is seeking a marketing agency qualified to provide marketing support, outreach management, facilitation, and assistance for the Solarize Rhode Island program.

Project Overview

The aggregation of multiple small-scale solar PV installations within a municipality provides opportunities to realize economies of scale for the solar PV Installer(s), reduce customer acquisition costs, and, ultimately, generate cost savings for end-use customers. Installation prices for small-scale solar PV installations are generally higher than for large- scale installations, in part due to the extra cost of customer acquisition – including marketing, advertising, and providing education to multiple customers. By educating and engaging local municipalities, streamlining marketing efforts, and aggregating sales, the 2017 Solarize RI Program will help drive down the cost of PV projects to make them a more accessible and affordable energy option for Rhode Island residents and business owners.


Solarize Rhode Island aims to increase education and outreach regarding solar photovoltaic (PV) technology, and to reduce the cost for residential and commercial customers to go solar. The selected marketing consultant will partner with The Corporation and OER (Program Team) to help design the upcoming rounds of the program, implement marketing strategies proposed by selected municipalities participating in the program, and provide outreach and educational services for the Solarize RI program.

Scope of Work

The Goals of the Solarize program include:

  1. Increased education and awareness of solar PV
  2. Reduced hard/soft costs associated with solar PV installations
  3. Increased local adoption of solar PV

The overall program goal is that marketing support from the selected Marketing Consultant and Program Team, involvement of the Community in the customer acquisition process, and competitive, tiered pricing from the Installer(s) will form a three-way partnership that reduces costs and greatly accelerates the penetration of solar PV in the Community. The North Smithfield Program Summary describes the results of the first round of Solarize Rhode Island and details the process, results, and lessons learned.

Overview of Solarize Rhode Island Marketing Consultant Activities Program Kick-off Meeting and Engagement with Selected Municipalities Purpose

  • Review and optimize municipal marketing plans
  • Drive meeting to determine:
    • Outreach timeline
    • Capacity of Solar Ambassadors and volunteer team (who are they, how can they be engaged?)
    • Assessment of outreach resources available (i.e. time capacity, email lists, or mailers)

Marketing Role

  • Facilitate kick-off meetings with selected municipalities
  • Determine methods for community engagement
  • Facilitate engagement with Solar Ambassador and volunteers
  • Create calendar of program events in coordination with the selected municipalities
  • Prepare a summary of meeting minutes and next steps

Website and Social Media

  • Effectively communicate program information and program goals to residents and business owners in selected municipalities
  • Provide updates, take notes and engage discussion with Program Team, installer and municipality
  • Education Event Coordination
  • Presentation events to introduce the Solarize RI program, the program
  • partners, solar PV technology, and the benefits of participating
  • Solar Ambassador to make introductions
  • Program Team to present for 20 – 30 minutes
  • Installer to present on the technology and specific offering

Outreach Capacity Building Efforts

  • Implementation of pre- approved activities to facilitate affinity group outreach efforts
  • Schedule events
  • Work with the Solar Ambassador to conduct coordinated outreach efforts
  • Develop email, print, online or traditional media
  • Communications

Roles, Responsibilities, and Time Commitments

OER and The Corporation are in the process of selecting up to five (5) municipalities for the Spring 2017 round of Solarize RI. Capitalizing on past lessons learned from previous rounds of the program, the Program Team is seeking detailed marketing plans from municipalities which identify both a dedicated municipal staff person as well as an identified lead volunteer, also known as a Solar Ambassador This RFP will competitively select a Marketing Consultant to collaborate with the selected municipalities and the Program Team to facilitate development of outreach activities, to design a solar education curriculum specific to each selected municipality, and to help identify and coordinate the responsibilities of the Solar Ambassador and volunteer team. In addition, the marketing consultant will conduct outreach efforts, host educational events, and create and monitor social media accounts including a Solarize RI website, the Solarize RI Facebook and Twitter accounts.

The Marketing Consultant will assist the Program Team, the Solar Ambassador(s), selected municipalities, and selected installers to develop and optimize their outreach plans, facilitate implementation of the outreach plans in coordination with Installer input, and provide additional capacity to the outreach team where needed. It is expected that the marketing consultant will, once selected, become a member of the Program Team and as such, if the Marketing Consultant is affiliated with a company, the company logo and company name will be present on outreach materials, except when determined as not appropriate by OER and The Corporation. In addition, all efforts conducted on behalf of the Program will reference the Solarize Rhode Island website, display the trademarked Solarize Rhode Island logo, and include all logos for OER, The Corporation, selected municipalities and installers as appropriate.

Proposal due by May 3 to:
Rhode Island Commerce Corporation
Solarize Rhode Island
Marketing Consultant RFP
315 Iron Horse Way, Suite 101
Providence, RI 02908

Possible agencies for this could include Finn Partners or Ruder Finn.

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