Protection 1 adding solar to its mix

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Friday, August 8, 2014

ROMEOVILLE, Ill.—Protection 1, based here, is joining the trend of security companies selling solar, the company has announced.

Protection 1, one of the nation’s largest home and commercial security companies with almost 2 million customers, announced in an Aug. 8 news release that it will “launch Brite Energy, powered by Protection 1 and backed by private equity firm GTCR.” Chicago-based GTCR bought Protection 1 in 2010.

Protection 1 is expected to begin selling solar systems in September, according to an Aug. 7 Bloomberg news report. Company CEO Tim Whall reportedly told Bloomberg that profits from the rapidly growing solar market could “easily equal” the company’s security business.

Whall is quoted as saying, “The timing is good for the solar business,” because there is little penetration in the growing solar market. While the U.S. solar industry—a green solution that can help consumers save energy costs—grew 60 percent last year, few homes yet have solar panels, Bloomberg reported.

Provo-Utah based Vivint is the leader of the trend of security companies branching out into solar. It launched Vivint Solar in 2011 and has grown that division to be the second largest solar installer in the country. In fact, Reuters reported this week that Vivint had confidentially filed for an initial public offering (IPO) of its solar business, and may launch the IPO as early as this fall.

Earlier this year, GHS Interactive Security, a new California-based security company, made news when it announced it was partnering with Solar Universe, a leading nationwide residential solar company, to combine security and solar into a comprehensive home automation package.

Bloomberg said Protection 1 plans to sell about 1,000 systems per month initially, letting home customers looking to save on their energy bills lease the solar panels for as little as $0 down.

The company said it is also is going to sell systems to commercial customers.

Whall, who the news release said has driven 120 percent retail growth for Protection 1 over the past four years, said in a prepared statement: “Protection 1 has the ability to transcend some of the difficulties that have plagued other entrants in the solar market including access to capital, a stable, developed infrastructure and installation expertise. [Also], we have built a standard of customer service that begins with our installers and extends all the way through to our account monitoring. As customers are exposed to solar opportunities, they will want to work with a partner they know and trust and we are confident they will choose to work with Brite Energy.”

Whall also stated: “An important factor for consumers to consider is the longevity of the solar service provider they choose. With agreements lasting up to 20 years, people will want a company they can trust will be there well into the future. Protection 1 has been around for nearly 30 years and has held an A+ BBB rating for the past 15 years.”

Protection 1 did not respond to requests for comment by SSN.