Overseeing a project is a critical aspect of success and includes clear roles and responsibilities as well as clear milestones to track progress. Once the deal is signed, it is important to share your story, which will bring attention to your city’s project and will serve as a critical point for scaling future renewable energy efforts. You should work closely with your press office and the project developer to publicize your success in a controlled, coordinated manner. Lack of communication around what information can be made public and when announcements should be made can lead to missteps and challenging public relations (PR) situations.
Implement your work plan and monitor progress
After you have created your work plan, you need to work to execute it and put in place a system for monitoring and oversight. To do this, consider the following:
- Carry out your project plan and timeline as described here.
- Create an oversight committee.
- Update key departments: maintain regular communication with critical internal teams such as finance, legal, and accounting.
- Anticipate staff turnover: document the process to build institutional knowledge and create some level of redundancy in staff roles to minimize the impact of employee turnover.
- Establish periodic milestones: establish regular checkpoints and long-term milestones against which to track progress.
Communicate your messaging needs early in the project development process
It is important to be explicit and up-front about messaging needs with key stakeholders in the community solar project. If you have a near-term goal or deadline, or specific reporting requirements from an outside funder, you may want to consider including these requirements in a contract.
Align on communication efforts with your public relations or marketing team
It is important to work with your PR or marketing team to determine how you would like to communicate your efforts. Important considerations could include how the project is contributing to your city’s goals, what claims around additionality or using renewable energy your city is comfortable making, or additional social and environmental benefits from the project.
You can read guidance about making public claims in the World Resource Institute’s report on Describing Purchaser Impact in US Voluntary Renewable Energy Markets. Even after you have agreed upon your PR needs, you should create a PR timeline with milestones to ensure media strategies are coordinated with important stakeholders. For more insight into best practices on how to communicate your efforts, consider reviewing the City Energy Project’s resources on this topic. While these resources and examples were designed for energy efficiency projects, many of the core principles and tips may be useful for renewable energy efforts as well.