Choose Your Partners Wisely

July 11, 2005

BP has teamed up with The Home Depot to promote the sale of solar panels for home electricity. BP has billed itself as the green gas company for a few yearsóand this move to enter the retail space by partnering with a dominant player like The Home Depot is very compelling. But it is also a bit curious.

The Home Depot is a store driven by price. Installation of a new home solar system costing upwards of $25,000 could take 15-20 years to actually "pay for itself" via savings on electricity costs. The environmental benefits outweigh the personal benefits ñ and in an environment like The Home Depot, where price is a key ingredient to a sale, this is a tough fit. Converting a home to solar energy is both expensive and not a do-it-yourself kind of thing. A better partner for BP Solar may have been a brand that speaks to a different market and is already built upon more of a sub-contractor relationship, like a Marvin Windows. A high-end retailer like Harvey Electronics, which sells advanced home electronics systems that often require substantial installation, could also have been an interesting fit. Promoting solar energy is a powerful statement for BP; truly facilitating implementation of solar energy will help sustain this promise to the long-term benefit of the BP brand.

-Jonathan Paisner jpaisner@corebrand.com

BP Solar and The Home Depot

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