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SunEdison: Shining the Light on Solar by Eradicating Darkness

Challenge

By the summer of 2012, the failings of companies like Solyndra had impacted the broader viability of the U.S. solar industry. SunEdison, however, was growing globally, expanding its presence onto new continents, and progressively working to change the world’s energy landscape. Executives came to Elasticity for a strategy to show the world that the solar industry is viable, and doing more than just accepting government loans. SunEdison is focused on transforming lives through innovation.

Citizens of the developed world take electricity for granted. It is hard to imagine a world in which there is no light after the sun sets in the western sky. But that world exists for more than one billion people worldwide—some 25 percent of the world’s population is living without electricity. Expanding energy availability to these populations is nearly impossible, as well as expensive. Sunlight, however, is in no short supply.

SunEdison went to what was just a perceived dark spot on Google Earth—the village of Meerwada in central India, home to only 400 of those 1.7 billion people—to bring denizens into the solar age. With solar panels installed, computers can be used, villagers can see snakes in their homes after dark, children can read stories before they fall asleep, and food can be refrigerated. The lives of the villagers have changed for the better, forever.

Strategy

Proud to be a part of project Eradication of Darkness, Elasticity got to work. We knew timing was crucial to maximize potential, so a schedule was put in place. Patience, however, became the name of the game. We covered all the corners and developed a brand for the solar initiative and a fabric of support materials to communicate the story.

With a solid narrative in place, Elasticity advanced Reuters newswire with a global exclusive, and then pitched the project to media worldwide. The developed content painted a picture for media—and thus worldwide audiences—accurately depicting the impact on a village when introduced to electricity and hope for communities similar to Meerwada spanning the globe.

Results

With the success of Meerwada, SunEdison has expanded the program to electrify areas of South America, Africa and additional locations in India. Landing placements everywhere from Asia to America, from trade publications to daily newspapers, the positive news of Eradication of Darkness spread like the dawn’s light. Gaining tens of millions of impressions in 58 original stories, SunEdison generated positive news for an industry under attack, while providing a future to regions left in the past.