Reflecting on 2015 & Gearing Up For Digital Marketing Innovation in 2016

2015-TopRank-Marketing-Reflections

This year brought many opportunities for innovation, creativity and growth for the team at TopRank Marketing.

On a personal note, I was beyond excited to re-join the team and dive head first into my new role as Director of Agency Marketing. In this role, part of my responsibilities include ensuring that our team provides creative, engaging, actionable and innovative content for our blog readers each week.

In 2015, our team published nearly 300 blog posts and amassed over 1.4 million unique pageviews for our blog content alone. Keeping the content engine running is an essential part of what we do at TopRank Marketing and I’m pleased to report the numbers above. Nearly a million of the pageviews above were generated from Organic Search which means that our strategy to optimize customers and search engines has led people to our content.

As part of our online community, I’d like to use this post to give you a glimpse into some highlights of 2015 for our team, as well as some exciting changes coming in 2016.

Executive Team Member Promotions

It’s always a great day when we are able to promote one of our own to a leadership position within the organization. The two women below have both shown exceptional drive, dedication and leadership to the team long before earning these executive promotions.

Jolina-Pettice-Tday-Blog-Post

Jolina Pettice has been promoted from Director of Operations to the company’s Vice President. With 10 years of experience at TopRank Marketing, Pettice has performed a number of essential duties including managing Fortune 500 search, content and social media marketing programs for large enterprise organizations.

Alexis-Hall-Tday-Blog-Post

Alexis Hall was recently promoted from Senior Account Manager to Director of Client Accounts where she leads the account management team. Alexis began her career at TopRank Marketing as an Account Coordinator and she recently celebrated 5 years at the agency and oversees client programs for large software and healthcare companies.

Welcoming New Talent to TopRank Marketing

In addition to promoting current employees to leadership positions, we also added some fresh, creative and innovative talent to our roster. While we do have quite a few new team members start this year, here are some of our most recent additions to the TopRank Marketing Family:

Kevin Cotch joined TopRank Marketing’s SEO team as a SEO Analyst earlier this year. Kevin’s experience as well as his willingness to dive in and help solve complex technical SEO issues has made him a welcome addition to the team.

Another awesome addition to the SEO team was Julia Ramos as a SEO Copywriter. I will be the first to tell you that Julia is not your average copywriter. Her attention to detail, in-depth research and analytical brain have elevated the level of service that we are able to provide to all clients across the board.  

Knute Sands is one of our newest Account Manager’s and has a killer combination of account management and content experience. This makes him uniquely qualified to work with some of our biggest clients on their content marketing strategies and initiatives.

Last, but certainly not least was the addition of Caitlin Burgess as a Content Marketing Lead. Caitlin’s roots in traditional journalism and digital marketing have made her a content marketing machine!

While TopRank Marketing has already doubled its staff since 2013, they are always on the hunt for talented digital marketers. Open positions can be found on the career page of the website.

Building New Client Relationships in Banking & Telecom

TopRank Marketing’s reputation for delivering industry leading digital marketing services and achieving results has recently attracted multiple new clients including a leading fraud protection firm and banking services company with engagements focused on online advertising services and analytics. Additionally, a well-known IT and telecom company recently engaged the agency for content marketing services.

Our legacy clients and new clients have all taught us so much about how to provide value and help them solve problems through our digital marketing consulting and services. All of our clients continue to be a valuable resource and we are so thankful for the opportunity to work with and get to know each and every one of them.

Changing Locations But Not Values

New-TopRank-Marketing-Office

The expansion of our business led us on a quest to find a new office space to better suit our growing needs. As of January 4th, we will be leaving the shores of lake minnetonka and moving to the 55 West Financial Center.

This new space will allow us to continue to develop our team of rockstar marketers, put us closer to local clients and encourage even more collaboration between teams.

If you’re interested, here is where you can find our new office:

55 West Financial Center

10405 6th Ave. N.

Suite 250

Minneapolis, MN 55441

Catching Up With TopRank Marketing President, Susan Misukanis

Susan-Misukanis-Tday-Blog-PostThe heart and soul of our organization has been built by those that have spent time in the trenches building this company from the ground up. One of those people is our President and Co-Founder, Susan Misukanis. I was able to catch a few minutes with her and get some very open and honest reflections about TopRank Marketing’s past, as well as a glimpse into what our office move could mean for the organization.

Q: What are some of the things that you’re most proud of about TopRank Marketing?

A: All of TopRank Marketing’s Clients, small, medium and large who have supported us as we grew, taught us valuable lessons, and have given us the privilege of serving them over the past 15 years.

I’m also extremely proud of the the talented TopRank Marketing team members whose commitment to serving our clients is unmatched.

Q: What is one of the biggest lessons that you’ve learned in the digital marketing business?

A: One lesson we keep learning is how important it is to be committed to hiring the highest achievers and marketing talent who are truly focused getting the best results for our clients!

Q: If you could pick one thing to do over, what would it be?

A: I’m anticipating that we should have moved closer to Minneapolis sooner in order to attract talent who are not up for the drive to Lake Minnetonka. Thank you to all our team members who have enjoyed the daily drive around the lake to get to us!

Q: What are some expectations you have for our new office space?

A: I think that this move will help us attract and retain even more of those talented digital marketers that we are looking for to join our team. We will also have more flexibility with a new and larger space that allows team members to work in private or a collaborate in a team environment.

Wishing You A Happy, Healthy & Innovative New Year

Beyond our move to a new office, new team members and clients, we’re incredibly excited to be part of an industry that is constantly evolving and innovating at a rapid pace. The bar is constantly being raised and we look forward to providing you creative and compelling content in the new year, and continuing to expand our service offering for our amazing clients.

What are you looking forward to most in the new year?


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2015. | Reflecting on 2015 & Gearing Up For Digital Marketing Innovation in 2016 | http://www.toprankblog.com

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World First Solar Powered Fashion Show



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Jessica Minh Anh is no stranger to extraordinary catwalk in the best places. The July 17, 2015, the model and the contractor will be history making 10th generation in the middle of the solar power plant Gemasolar win in Seville, Spain. Unlike previous fashions Jessica at the Eiffel Tower, the Tower Bridge in London, Grand Canyon Skywalk, and One World Trade Center, J Summer Fashion Show 2015 not only presented a combination of art, architecture, culture and fashion, but also celebrate the best of advanced technology and environmental preservation. With backdrop of famous film central tower and thousands of advanced mirrors, the gateway to the sun must redefine the standards of modern fashion.

J Summer Fashion Premiere in June 2015 fashion collections and exclusive jewelry in Europe and Asia. Focusing on the art of minimalism, Ekria Turkish jewelry brand presents a collection of highly futuristic gold laser cut and silver. Rather, the Spanish sensation Paloma Sanchez, who has traveled the world in search of the most precious stones, present a luxurious and colorful collection. Heavily influenced by Chinese culture and dedication to perfection, the jeweler combines Eastern European charm and sophistication to make all women feel like kings. Returning to the single gateway Jessica Minh Anh, Pakistani Haute Couture designer Syeda Amera continue their creative approach to training, gold glitter embellishments, bold cuts, and abstract patterns. Adding a Spanish touch to the big window, very clean designer Vera Pilar Sevilla will present some of the most dynamic, dramatic, romantic and especially Flamenco dresses. Youth collection pays homage to the textile crafts, traditional sewing techniques and floral prints with an emphasis on the sensual silhouettes. “Jessica Minh Anh embodies fluid movements, class and elegance that resonate with my collection. I look forward to its main other models on the podium in my multilayer signature red doll dress,” said Pilar Vera.

Effective Solutions In Heating and Cooling Systems in Australia



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Normally, through Australia, 40 percent of the energy we use at home is for heating and cooling. This does not include the heating of hot water. The amount of energy used by your home vary according to their needs and the environment where you live and the type of heating and cooling depends on you. Most households have to be heated or cooled to a certain time of year, but with an efficient home, which could avoid dependence on heating and cooling additional devices in total.

Besides the type of heating and cooling solutions you choose, how to work and take care of your system may also have a significant impact. Once you have used all the options of passive heating involved, the next step is to select a suitable to your situation heating. There are many types of heating with different reasons of energy and environmental quantities efficiency.Your, type water heater, how to use it and to its position in the room can make a positive change in their leisure and heating costs. When sizing and adequate system of your home, you can avoid investing in the energy required. Central heating often can heat an entire home, while the space (room) heat warms everyone in the room (or more in the American zone) is used. Whether you opt for the central heating or space, there are many technologies and different heating options to consider, the best type of heating for you is determined by your circumstances, including the size of the rooms to become heated, the number of people in your home and your local climate.

Efficient gas heaters and reverse cycle air conditioning (heat pumps) are cheaper to acquire than standard electric heaters and create about a third of the amount of greenhouse gases. Note that it is important to work with unflued gas heaters with adequate ventilation when they cause indoor air pollution probably at home that may affect their welfare. See the requirements of your state or place.

Central heating systems are often critical to the gas, but could use a water heater in the fire, or heat pump solar system. Most of these systems circulating hot water radiators through solar panels, fan coils or in some cases indirectly through a concrete slab.

Air conditioning (or heat pumps) reverse cycle represent the type of electrical energy efficiency heater.Heat more levers have a fan and led the parties directly unheated heat your home.

They can be a profitable, low cost of operation. Portable electric heaters can be cheap to buy but expensive to maintain. Many are not as useful as other strategies slab floor heating heating.Electric often stronger fuel emissions of greenhouse gases whole house heating and perform.As rules would be the highest you should clean the filters in your heating system regularly to make sure it works effectively, follow the actual manufacturer. Use thermostats and timers to ensure that you are only heated room with everything you need to make when you need to save energy and money. Research on the best type of heating and cooling for your circumstances, our information could help you get started.

Using Solar Power in Your Home



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Residential solar power is becoming an attractive option for many people. They can use the sun’s energy to operate various devices and to heat their homes. It is also earth-friendly and economical way to bring the power in your home. Solar energy can help reduce external energy consumption by 50-70 percent. There are several different ways you can use solar energy in your home, which may include the use of solar panels and solar thermal systems to produce electricity.

Once you have installed solar power in your home, you can use water heated by solar energy to produce hot water and heat your home. There will be a collector mounted on an elevated area, such as the roof, and is used to absorb thermal energy from the sun. Often increases the heat and stores the resulting hot water. This heat can be piped through radiators to heat the house and provide hot water. Besides reducing your electricity bills, it can add value to your home if you decide to sell your home.

The main reason why many people are using residential solar power is helping to reduce the cost of their utility bills. Depending on the type of solar system used in a dozen years, the solar panels can pay for themselves. The Department of Energy United States hopes that by 2020, solar energy will become common place in homes. They also expect to see the normal cut energy consumption by seventy percent in that time.

The solar electric panel is the technology used in solar power, which uses photons to produce electricity. Solar electric panels, known as photovoltaic panels (PV) can be installed in a variety of ways, such as:

• Free standing rigid sheets

• Adjust your ceiling

• peel and stick laminate

How dependent are installed ceiling. The captured energy is converted into electricity through a modified grid system. It has an installed meter that reads the amount of solar energy used in your home compared to normal electricity used. The meter will then subtract the power of solar energy is used and what is left is then applied to your electric bill.

Most solar energy systems that are used are also able to store some of the energy they generate so if there is a surplus of energy can be used at a later time. Besides using the stored energy to generate rooms hot water and heat, it can also supply for other electronic equipment and light your home. The main cost of solar energy is the cost of installing the system and solar panels.

Engage More Customers By Becoming a Content Marketing Sommelier

content marketing sommelia

A sommelier is known for having extensive knowledge about wines, and how to complement the sensory experience of each type with perfect food pairings. Many train for years in hopes of finally becoming a Master Sommelier.

When embarking on a content marketing initiative, it’s important to know how to maximize the sensory experience of your content. A Master Content Marketing Sommelier knows what will best engage their customers, be it a complex, full-bodied blog post or a light, crisp infographic.

Demand Metric found that content marketing generates 3 times as many leads as traditional outbound marketing but costs 62% less. This means marketers have a ripe opportunity to create content that expertly meets the needs of their audience.

Below are 6 tips to help you become a sommelier of content marketing.

#1 – Balance: The level of harmony between acidity, tannins, fruit, oak, and other elements in a wine; a perceived quality that is more individual than scientific.

wine balance

Content marketing can be a great tool for lead nurturing if implemented correctly. Successful content will harmoniously create value for your audience and move them toward a purchasing decision.

First and foremost, it is essential that your content offer useful and relevant information for your audience. If your message doesn’t help them solve their problem or meet a current need, they’ll move on to someone who does.

However, that does not mean there isn’t an opportunity to incorporate a call to action, where it makes sense. In fact, many marketers are leaving leads on the table by offering a piece of content without asking for contact information in exchange for the download.

Another often overlooked opportunity is adding calls to action within your blog post. This can be as simple as asking a question that helps your reader internalize the information and engage with your content by sharing their opinion. As long as you achieve balance between your promotional element and the value you add for the reader, you’ll create a pleasant experience.

#2 – Blend: The process whereby two or more grape varieties are combined after separate fermentation; common blends include Cotes de Rhone and red and white Bordeaux.

wine blend

Content marketing should not be a stand-alone program within digital marketing. In order to truly be masterful, it must be combined with other digital marketing efforts such as:

  • SEO
  • Influencer Marketing
  • Social Media
  • Paid Search & Social Media Advertising
  • Conversion Optimization
  • Website Analytics

Just as a good blended wine combines the strengths of each vintage to enhance the flavor experience, a good marketing blend puts the different elements of marketing to work to amplify your message.

#3 – Legs: A term used to describe how wine sticks to the inside of a wineglass after drinking or swirling.

wine legs

Even if your customers aren’t ready to buy right now, you want to remain top of mind when they are ready to make the leap. So the question is; how can you create stickiness with your content marketing?

One simple way is to create a consistent posting schedule. If you continue to offer relevant information and sound advice on a consistent basis, your customers will come back to you when they have another need.

#4- Table Wine: A term used to describe wines of between 10 and 14 percent alcohol; in Europe, table wines are those that are made outside of regulated regions or by unapproved methods.

Table Wine Image

If you are an avid wine drinker (like myself) then you know that you’re typically better off skipping the table wine or house wine. It’s usually the cheaper option, but it’s definitely made for quantity rather than quality.

When it comes to your content marketing, you’re better off doing a few things very well, than trying to do too much and falling short. Prioritize your content marketing for impact and form an understanding of what you can handle in-house, what may need to be outsourced and what needs cut from your plan. A few high-quality pieces of content are more valuable in the long-run than high-quantity “table wine” content.

# 5 – Yield: The amount of grapes harvested in a particular year.

Yield Vineyard

The vintner who fails to measure their vineyard’s yield and adjust their plans accordingly won’t be in business for long. If you don’t measure the yield of your content marketing, it will be difficult to see how it is performing and what you can do better. As with any sales or marketing program, you must:

  • Determine your critical measurements based on business goals
  • Define both short and long-term goals
  • Tie performance back to leads and sales metrics

There is no replacement for content marketing measurement and it should always remain top of mind when deploying new tactics. For each piece of content you create, make sure to ask yourself: Does this align with my objectives, and what do I hope to achieve?

#6 – Pruning: The annual vineyard chore of trimming back plants from the previous harvest.

pruning vines

Vintners prune their plants to enable them to grow and thrive. Once you’ve given your content marketing time to mature, it’s time to go back and decide where to “prune” your program. You may find that your audience responds really well to long-form blog content but does not care much for video, for example.

Take the time to find which tactics are performing the best and weed out those that are not effective. A little strategic pruning can make sure that you focus on creating the content that resonates most with your audience.

Pour Yourself a Nice Crisp Glass of Content Marketing

Understanding what makes a successful content marketing strategy can be as tricky as mastering the appreciation of fine wine. Both take practice, dedication and attention to detail. What have you found is your biggest challenge in creating successful content marketing that inspires action?

All definitions are courtesy of WineEnthusiast

Photos via Shutterstock: First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2015. |
Engage More Customers By Becoming a Content Marketing Sommelier | http://www.toprankblog.com

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5 Impactful Digital Marketing Takeaways from MNSearch Summit

MNSearch-Summit-2015

In order to be an effective digital marketer, it’s imperative that you understand the role that search plays in all of your marketing initiatives. The search landscape is quickly evolving and sometimes what you need is a helping hand from some industry experts to set you down the path to success.

Amazingly, that is just what we experienced at this years MNSearch Summit. Alexis Hall, Evan Prokop, Joel Carlson, Kat Steiner and I took a leap across the river into St. Paul Minnesota for a day filled with actionable information that can be used to improve any digital marketing program.

If you were not able to attend, or maybe didn’t get to see all of the sessions that you would have liked, we’ve provided a helpful roundup of 5 of the takeaways that we believed were most impactful for digital marketers.

ahall

Team Member: Alexis Hall

Session: The Data-Driven Content Marketer – Sean Callahan, LinkedIn

The statement exemplifies the pain marketers have been feeling for over 75 years. Imaging the glory days of a 1950s Don Draper, when advertising was based on gut feel, seeing into the soul of the customer. Some things worked and some things didn’t.  The problem was – it was very difficult to tell which was which.

As savvy content marketers today, we certainly know more about performance than the 1950s ad man, but many of us still feel a gap when it comes to measuring content. We are ready to move beyond page views and social shares to find out if our content is really working.

Enter – big data. It’s no surprise that the amount of data is ramping up:

  • 5 Quintillion bytes of data created every day across the globe
  • 90% of existing data has been created in the last 2 years
  • 90% of buyer journey completed by the time a prospect reaches out to a salesperson

Throughout his presentation, Sean provided examples of companies like Netflix, Google, Zendesk and many more that are using data to guide their content marketing strategy.

He explained that one approach to creating relevant content is the Big Rock Approach, when one big piece of content in a period feeds other content marketing efforts.

The Big Rock Approach follows these steps:

  1. Start with keyword research: Find out what your customers asking and where that intersects with your business.
  2. Repurpose content like leftover turkey: Use tactics such as slide presentations, blogs, infographics, webinars and videos. Then drive your audience back to a gated piece of content to drive conversions.
  3. Use turkey slides to fuel your content hubs: Examples would include:
    1. Company pages
    2. Sponsored updates
    3. LinkedIn Groups
    4. SlideShare

When you are able to merge a data driven approach with truly relevant content then you can make your marketing really meaningful.

ksteiner

Team Member: Kat Steiner

Session: How to Win with the Unexpected in PPC – John Gagnon, Bing

In his session, Bing Ads Evangelist John Gagnon offered sound advice to help marketers look at solving problems in unique ways.

There were three strategies that John discussed including voice search, brand term bidding and offsite tagging. All of which can be used to help companies stay competitive with their online properties in the current digital landscape.

Voice Search

According to Gagnon, the increase in the use of voice search will alter how marketers strategize on behalf of their clients. Currently, 25% of inquiries come from a voice search. It is essential that steps are taken to target this specific audience segment.

The use of voice search is different from a typed inquiry in the following ways:

  • A searcher is mobile, so the results will change accordingly
  • A searcher is looking for local results
  • The search inquiry is shaped in a more conversational format

Brand Term Bidding

When looking to attract traffic for branded search, companies still need to utilize paid search opportunities in addition to organic strategies. By bidding on the highly visible paid space, companies can ensure less clicks go to their competitors.

Brand term bidding gives marketers control of what landing page a visitor arrives on. By maintaining visibility in the paid space for branded terms, a marketer can influence the first impression a visitor has when they arrive on their website.

Offsite Tagging

When looking for remarketing opportunities, marketers can utilize the websites of relevant business partners to gain insights. Marketers can tag the site of the business partner to see how visitors are interacting, then start collecting information to build out the audience and report on their behavior. Once relevant audience members are identified, these individuals can be retargeted at a later date.

azeckman

Team Member: Ashley Zeckman

Session: Email Marketing Trends, Tactics & Opportunities for Search Marketers – Loren McDonald, Silverpop

Loren McDonald provided some great insight into email marketing trends, as well as the convergence of email marketing and search. What stuck with me the most from his session was the opportunity for email marketing and search teams to work together, and the fact that most simply aren’t.

Below is some of the low hanging fruit that Loren mentioned in his presentation:

  1. Landing Pages: You can build a dynamic email based on the search terms that consumers used to get to your landing page.
  2. Lead Scoring: If marketing automation is being used, begin incorporating keywords into lead scoring. Keywords can be scaled higher or lower based on what was used to drive the consumer to your website.
  3. Keyword Driven Email Content: There is also an opportunity to incorporate the keywords used in search results to drive the content of your email campaigns.

eprokop

Team Member: Evan Prokop

Session: How we Can Tell a Compelling Story with our Google Analytics Data – Jeff Sauer, Jeffalytics

There are many steps involved in collecting, cleaning and categorizing data in a way that makes it prime for storytelling. Jeff Sauer provided many actionable tips in his presentation to help marketers get more from their Google Analytics data. When it comes down to it, how can marketers use data to tell a compelling story?

In order for data to be valuable, it needs to tell a story. “Traffic is up 50% over last month” doesn’t say much, but “referral traffic from the ebook campaign we launched last month helped to drive a 50% increase in total website traffic, 20% increase in soft leads and 10% increase in revenue compared to the previous month” tells a much more compelling story.

A good web analytics story not only summarizes the current situation, it leads to actionable next steps. Taking the example above, a logical and actionable next step would be to allocate additional budget to the content marketing team to concept and launch additional ebook campaigns.

That’s the kind of story that drives business decisions and leads to results, and that’s what all digital marketers should be striving for from their web analytics.

jcarlson

Team Member: Joel Carlson

Session: The Power of Real-Time Content For Any Organization – Bob Stanke, Minnesota Timberwolves

The ability to respond to a story in real-time is an incredibly difficult task. In fact, AdWeek reported that only 4% of marketers are able to create content for breaking news in real-time.

Bob Stanke opened up his session by reminding the crowd of the heart wrenching story of the Chilean miners that were stuck underground for two months in 2010. He also highlighted that Oakley quickly jumped into action and provided the miners with sunglasses to help their eyes adjust once they were finally freed. This seemingly small investment and goodwill move on Oakley’s part led to an approximately $41 million return for the company.

In his position at the Minnesota Timberwolves, Stanke and his team have to be able to respond quickly and effectively to breaking news. Below are some of the ways that they are able to set their team up for success:

Real-Time Content the Timberwolves Way

  • Conduct weekly content meetings
  • Include representatives from over 7 different departments
  • Discuss various what-if scenarios
  • Give attention to crossing storylines (Ex. Does a current player live or did they live in an area that was just hit by a disaster)
  • Focus on human-interest topics as they relate to the organization
  • Discuss ways to use exclusive content and how will it be distributed

A Behind-the-Scenes Snapshot of #MNSummit

MNSearch-Summit-Collage

The speakers at MNSearch Summit covered email marketing, PPC, using data for storytelling and so much more. Which tip above most closely aligned with your current digital marketing needs?

Disclosure: LinkedIn is a TopRank Online Marketing client.

Header Image: Shutterstock


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5 Impactful Digital Marketing Takeaways from MNSearch Summit | http://www.toprankblog.com

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What Is a Photovoltaic System?



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This is a common question from the uninitiated. A photovoltaic (or PV System) is an installation of solar panels that can be used to provide electricity and if you generate more energy than it needs, can be fed back to the network.

Domestic photovoltaic systems have two main options installations. Existing properties tend to opt for a mounting system “roof”, where the panels are sitting slightly above the roof surface. This causes the least disruption of the structure and the tiling of existing coverage. The alternative is a system of “roof” where the panels replace the shingles. This is most suitable for a new house a home that is to have the roof replaced.

Photovoltaic panels produce energy even on cloudy days because they use not only direct sunlight but also diffuse solar radiation. The question is how energy is achieved at night? Well a residential installation usually connected to the national grid so you can buy energy to the national grid at night.

PV systems are also available for commercial and industrial purposes. Freeholders, in particular, can use the system effectively to generate revenue. They can use a large plant on earth to produce energy for sale to the network. They also work well in farm buildings for energy, where it is difficult to connect to the national grid.

Most roofs are strong and large enough for a residential installation. The panels are reasonably robust as they have to withstand the weather frequently. Interestingly, the approach of the Council to see whether the planned system will require a building permit. When choosing a company to install your PV system, ensure that you are looking for a (Microgeneration Certification System) certified company MCS.

There are, of course, other forms of alternative energy such as wind power, hydropower and geothermal, but these are much less suitable for a residential installation!