GHS Interactive Security, Solar Universe partner to offer security + solar solution

It’s billed as a first time collaboration between an alarm company and a solar provider and a way to provide a comprehensive offering that reflects the consumer demand for energy-efficient smart homes
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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

LAS VEGAS—In what is being called a first in the industry, GHS Interactive Security is partnering with Solar Universe, a leading nationwide residential solar company, to combine security and solar into a comprehensive home automation package.

GHS, a new home security company based in Sacramento, Calif., and Livermore, Calif.-based Solar Universe announced the partnership today at the ISC West show here.

“Combining the strengths of Solar Universe with our own security and monitoring solutions will offer consumers an unrivaled opportunity to seamlessly automate and manage their homes better,” Steve Baker, CEO of GHS, said in a prepared statement. Baker, a security industry veteran, founded GHS, a primarily door-knocking company, in 2013.

The launch is taking place primarily in California, Joe Miller, EVP of Solar Universe, told Security Systems News, and will expand from there. Miller said Solar Universe is the fourth largest solar provider in the nation. It has 50 offices and serves customers as far away as Hawaii and Puerto Rico, but has a “heavy concentration” in California, Miller said.

“For both companies, it’s kind of an unprecedented relationship that really is, I think, kind of symbolic of the way … consumer trends are starting to go,” Miller told SSN.

Vivint, the Provo, Utah-based home automation/home security company, started its own solar company in 2011. Vivint Solar is a Vivint affiliate and the second largest residential solar provider in the country.

Statistics show that more and more people are turning to solar to generate their own power and reduce high energy costs and that dovetails neatly with the smart home services security companies offer, he said.

“One of the aspects of security is securing your home, but it’s also securing your financial position for the long term, and if you can make your family more secure by protecting yourself from high energy costs, it’s just another form of security—it’s financial security,” Miller said.

John Bergher, GHS EVP of marketing and customer care, told SSN, “There’s obviously a growing synergy in the last five years with things like home automation and energy management and environmentally conducive products, and at some point we knew there was going to be a convergence of the two industries … and we just wanted to find a quality partner who would be willing to work with us.”

He said GHS found that partner in Solar Universe, which he said shares GHS’ customer-focused philosophy. “We were able to see their culture was really comparable to ours … [with a] quality focus and making things friendly and seamless with the latest technology,” Bergher said.

The two companies are also neighbors. “We were close in vision and close in geography, which also presented an additional benefit,” Bergher said. “We’re strongest in California.”

Earlier this year, GHS announced it was expanding into the southern California market.

Solar Universe also sells door to door, Miller said, but it additionally employs other sales methods, such as its “innovative design center” for customers who want to buy solar online.

Miller said, “Think of it as the Amazon of solar. We can literally go online and help you custom build and design a system as well as [tell you] what the economic payback of what that system would be. We have distinct and different ways we can engage consumers.”

In a news release, the companies noted that “traditionally, solar home products have been strictly outside the home while security products have remained focused on the interior of the home. By integrating GHS’s two-way voice and cellular monitoring technology, motion sensors and detectors with Solar Universe panels, consumers can save hours of wasted energy. The partnership will make it easier to lower the overall home energy costs and allow users to smartly manage their homes.”

Bergher explained to SSN, “We’re taking what would normally be a complex relationship and [simplifying it by] co-merging and bundling it. I think the consumers are going to be really excited about this when they find they can get all these great benefits and save money in the process.”

He said the two companies will do some combining of resources to sell the comprehensive package, such as “sharing of data bases and marketing cross pollination.”

GHS will add to its selling arsenal with the partnership, Bergher said. “Door to door is still our bread and butter but we’re so excited about this partnership and will use any applicable chance to get in front of a customer who could benefit,” he said.

“You can see why this relationship makes so much sense,” he continued. “It takes advantage of converging trends of generating your own power and making your home smarter … as well as the sales and marketing approach which we’re both using.”