Vivint rival Protection 1 embraces PV

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The "low penetration" of rooftop PV in the US drew Protection 1 to the sector

Protection 1, the US security systems and home-automation provider, will enter the PV business next month, offering to install and maintain rooftop solar systems for its residential and commercial customers.

The emergence of the new company – to be called Brite Energy, and for which a bare-bones website already exists – underscores the land-grab mentality gripping the US rooftop solar sector, with money pouring in from a multitude of directions.

Illinois-based Protection 1 is a close rival in the security-system business of Vivint Inc., the parent of Vivint Solar, which has grown explosively to become the second largest US installer of residential PV systems.

Vivint’s critical advantage in the PV business is its ability to leverage its existing relationships with millions of homeowners to sell them solar systems, which can be bundled into home-automation packages.

Protection 1’s decision to push into the solar game emerged just a few days after an unattributed Reuters story claimed that the company’s owner, the Chicago-based private-equity firm GTCR, is looking to sell it for more than $1.5bn.

Follow-on stories in other media outlets quoted sources as saying that the company is not in a sale process, but is evaluating a range of options – including an IPO.

Earlier this week it was reported that Vivint Inc. – itself owned by buyout giant Blackstone Group – had confidentially filed papers related to an IPO of its fast-growing rooftop PV unit, Vivint Solar.

“As the [security system] industry has evolved and includes more home-automation and lifestyle benefits, solar seemed like a natural extension,” Protection 1 chief executive Timothy Whall was quoted as saying by Security Sales & Integration, an online news source for that industry.

“It has significantly low market penetration and a large gap in companies that provide end-to-end service – and service done well.”

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