Case Study: Water, wind, sun – which green energy wins online?
With increasing concerns about the environmental impact of fossil fuels and nuclear power, renewable energies have grown in popularity over recent years. As the market for green energy matured, it also became more and more competitive. In our latest case study, we wanted to see how different sources of alternative energy are performing online, and how insights from social listening could be used by clean energy providers to better understand customer attitudes, find and develop interesting new markets, and stay aware of the latest industry developments.
1. Solar energy receives the most attention online
Monitoring the overall levels of social discussion for each type of energy is a good way to get an instant idea of how much a topic is resonating with the public.
Solar energy received the most attention overall in online conversations from early March through the beginning of April, with peaks of around 6,000 mentions occurring several times over that period. Many of these results were related to conversations about how different countries could get a percentage of their energy needs from solar power in just a few years. For green energy suppliers, such insights can lead to a valuable boost to their business activities as interest in their products spikes among a broader audience.
2. #Solar and #Wind as the most popular hashtags
A hashtag analysis can deliver interesting insights into the overall conversation about renewables. The chart above shows that the use of hashtags reflects the pattern of the worldwide conversation as shown below.
With more than 13,600 mentions over between mid-March and mid-April, #solar was the most popular hashtag.
With more than 13,600 results, #solar gained the most mentions over a 30-day-period. At just above 3,100 mentions, #wind lagged far behind but still outperformed #biogas (2,300). Keeping an eye on the conversation surrounding these hashtags gives energy suppliers insight into which topics are especially important to their customers - in this case, the conversation is driven by the price development for solar panels.
3. Strongest positive sentiment for solar energy
Social listening can help clean energy companies to get a first look at customer perception by analysing the sentiment towards a specific type of renewables.
Solar energy received the most favourable mentions online between mid-March and mid-April. Due to the California drought, many comments on hydro energy were linked to worries about power supply and therefore classified as negative
In terms of overall attention, solar energy clearly delivers the best online performance. It continuously received the highest share of voice throughout the entire period monitored, with mentions rarely dropping below 2,000 per day. Wind power, in contrast, peeked at 2,800 mentions twice, in the middle of March and again at the end of the month.
A closer sentiment analysis also shows that solar came to just 14% negative mentions between mid-March and mid-April, compared to 22% positive sentiment. The topic is discussed more favourably than wind power, which lags behind with a positive share of just 16%.
Early insights into such conversations gives energy companies an idea of which topics might become critical, giving them the chance to prepare a response before a topic turns into a real crisis.
With a very high share of the overall conversation as well as many positive mentions, solar energy seems to be the winning clean energy source on line. However, new developments can quickly turn the tides in the green energy market. For full insights on the online performance of renewables and the benefits of social media monitoring in the clean tech industry, read the full case study on “Clean Energy: Social Media Analytics for Market Research” here.