The Challenge


The United States Department of Energy estimates more than 10 million acres of land will be needed to scale up solar energy by 2050. Meanwhile, the Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that demand for food will grow 76 percent by 2050 to feed the world’s expected 9.8 billion people. Both of these demands require vast swaths of farmland, of which there is limited supply across the USA, and the globe.

Enter agrivolatics: the dual-use of agricultural land for farming and solar energy generation. Solar arrays are positioned to ensure adequate space for crops or livestock grazing. Agrivolatics also provides farmers with an added revenue stream to ensure the farm continues to thrive during off-seasons and the winter months.

Lightstar is a national leader in agrivoltaics, with several projects running and upcoming in rural communities across the USA. Lightstar brought Yulu onboard because of our specific expertise in community engagement, hyper-local tactics for connecting with media in smaller communities, and community-focused approach to digital advertising and branding on shared media. 


The Strategy


Together, Yulu and Lightstar are:

  • Raising awareness of Lightstar’s commitment to developing local access to solar energy, and preserving essential farmland through culturally-appropriate and equitable community engagement opportunities, like open houses and using a listening-first approach;
  • Educating Lightstar’s audiences on the benefits of community and dual-use solar, specifically through generating clean, renewable energy while preserving essential farmland via organic and paid social and digital media;
  • Engaging local audiences, particularly in the communities in which Lightstar is looking to enter in the future and those that currently face barriers to accessing clean solar energy through hyper-local media relations; and
  • Demonstrating the projects that Lightstar has implemented, as proof of concept for the communities that Lightstar will enter in the future via speaking opportunities and other events.

Yulu started our engagement with Lightstar by taking a deep dive into the solar sector and a deliberate focus on messaging that amplified Lightstar’s brand and the “Lightstar difference” using equitable and inclusive language, including segmented messaging and calls-to-action to match the priorities and values of communities across political leanings. 


The Results & Impact


A fulsome digital advertising campaign was launched to drive traffic to Lightstar’s website, with adwords optimized regularly based on results and the news cycle. Yulu was able to decrease the average cost per click on all Google ads, while increasing impressions and clicks with this strategy.

Our media relations approach was centered on reaching Lightstar’s target audiences where they are already at. Proactive pitching and angle development resulted in coverage in Lightstar’s dream target trade outlet (achieving a reach of 387,525 within Lightstar’s top priority audience), and introductory pitches to journalists covering clean energy and food justice led to additional coverage. Connecting with rural radio stations also led to increased public engagement with Lightstar’s projects in key geographies, drawing attendees to in-person events hosted by Lightstar in target communities.

Taking an agile approach to shared media content development and deployment, which allowed us to quickly evolve content in response to feedback, Yulu achieved engagement rates ranging from six to 12 percent across multiple platforms, exceeding average rates of one to five percent.  

To supplement earned, shared and paid media successes, Yulu also developed comprehensive stories about Lightstar’s projects, developed with graphics and videos captured by Yulu’s creative team. Taking a human-centered narrative approach to these stories was critical in reaffirming Lightstar as a values-driven organization on a mission to provide equitable access to clean energy for all.