Protection 1 branches out into solar energy

Nov. 3, 2014
Brite Energy enters its first market in San Diego

Protection 1, one of the largest providers of residential and commercial security services in the U.S., announced late last month that its recently launched solar arm, Brite Energy, has entered its first market in San Diego, Calif. While solar energy installation isn’t exactly unchartered territory for home security companies given Vivint’s foray into the market with the creation of Vivint Solar over three years ago, Stephen Hopkins, chief operating officer for Brite Energy, believes that it is a natural fit for Protection 1’s business strategy.

“The cornerstone of Protection 1 has really been our core customer base. Looking at what is going on in the marketplace and how we can grow and expand and add more value to our customers, we’ve looked at solar for several years now and just the market dynamics really make solar exciting,” said Hopkins. “If you’ve paid attention to solar as a growth market and what is going on with renewable energy, solar is in a really pivotal place and it is growing really fast. It ties into everything that we do. We’re a service-based business – whether we are selling security, solar, access control, or fire systems – our differentiator is who we are in the marketplace and how we care for our customers.”

Another differentiator for Brite Energy, according to Hopkins, is the turnaround time that they can provide from an initial inspection and quote for a customer to an actual installation.

“Our model is very, very different from anybody else out there in the solar business. Our model is about getting the customer what they want, giving them the savings that they need, but most importantly, same day on the roof from a solar design perspective, we’ll turnaround and actually do a proposal and we’ll do the engineering and permitting within a couple of days,” added Hopkins. “Our end-to-end process is visibly different from our competitors from what we understand.”

Having an extensive infrastructure already in place with Protection 1, Hopkins said that Brite Energy will be able to hit the ground running rather than have to worry about taking care of back-end processes.

“The startup of any business is a lot of hard work and there are a lot of things that have to get done behind the scenes. If you look at us and the things we’re doing just on the back-end side, from web development , brochures and sales literature, it would be very, very difficult to do that as a startup company, explained Hopkins. “Leaning on our Protection 1 marketing and what they can bring to market and the partnerships we already have, that just goes nicely together. If you look at IT and the support to setup the networks, infrastructure, software tools to do the (site) surveys… we’ve developed our own back-end, end-to-end order entry system, so it is just a replication of what we do on the Protection 1 side.”

Hopkins said anybody that owns their own home and has the roof space available to generate enough kilowatt energy to make solar energy feasible for their residences are the kinds of customers that Brite Energy will be targeting.

“In some markets, like California where we are starting, the (cost of energy) can go up relatively quickly – 32, 33 or 34 cents a kilowatt – and those are sort of the easy markets where we will enter first because we can create electricity in half of that time,” said Hopkins. “Just about anybody that’s looking at a lifestyle change or looking at cost savings fits the solar model.”

Hopkins said that there are many different variables that come into play during a typical solar installation, first and foremost of which is the available roof space a customer has as it will determine how much energy can be created. Roof tilt and roof shade also play a key role. Once a solar module is installed on a roof, the electricity generated has to be converted from DC energy to AC energy through the use of an inverter.

“What we will do is actually calculate how much power (the installation) will create, we will look at their power bill for the past 12 months and then we will calculate what their costs savings will be,” said Hopkins. “We won’t do it unless they can save money because the big thing for us is that we’re going to provide a system that saves the customer money every month. Basically, it’s a zero-down model where the customer is going to pay us a monthly fee. “

Hopkins said that Brite Energy will be in five California markets by the end of the year and that based on studies and analyses they’ve done thus far, the company has found that there are 14 markets nationwide where solar energy makes “good economical sense.”

“We’re starting out in California, we’re going to move to the East Coast and we’re going to move across the U.S.,” said Hopkins. “The big challenge for most solar companies is the availability of capital, so that’s one thing that we’re very well set in… so we’ve done a really nice job at the front-end, hiring the best-of-the-best as it relates to guys that really know how to put solar in and do that in a very cost-effective and economic way.”

About the Author

Joel Griffin | Editor-in-Chief,

Joel Griffin is the Editor-in-Chief of, a business-to-business news website published by Endeavor Business Media that covers all aspects of the physical security industry. Joel has covered the security industry since May 2008 when he first joined the site as assistant editor. Prior to SecurityInfoWatch, Joel worked as a staff reporter for two years at the Newton Citizen, a daily newspaper located in the suburban Atlanta city of Covington, Ga.