Even in the digital age, boots on the ground still matter.
Pure Energies Group has been mining the digital realm for years to find homeowners who might want rooftop solar and then pairing them with solar developers.
Now, with a new dealer program, Pure Energies is getting leads the old-fashioned way: from dealers that are already in someone’s home selling something else.
The first partner is Alarm.com, which Pure Energies has worked with in the past year providing web- and mobile-based offers to customers who might be interested in rooftop solar. Alarm.com’s thousands of dealers can now be trained in lead generation and then hand off the more detailed sales process to Pure Energies.
“It’s soft lead collection,” said Chris Stern, VP of business development for Pure Energies. “The idea is to redeploy the foot soldiers out there to get clients.”
Many of Alarm.com’s dealers were already asking for a solar offering, said Stern. Alarm.com also acquired EnergyHub about a year ago to beef up its energy services offerings within the connected home. Vivint, which is a dealer for Alarm.com, gained more than $700 million in residential solar financing last year for its solar arm and is expecting to open 30 new offices this year. The dealer partnership between Pure Energies and Alarm.com will now put the security company into more direct competition with Vivint. Although Vivint is an Alarm.com dealer, Alarm.com does not partner with Vivint Solar.
But the competition isn’t just between security companies. Solar installers such as SolarCity have moved further into intelligent efficiency for the home. NRG Energy, which is vying for home solar market share with SolarCity and Vivint, has also deepened its relationship with Comcast by pairing together to be an electric supplier in Pennsylvania. The partnership doesn’t currently offer solar, but it could in the future.
Pure Energies used to be a solar project developer, but is now a consultant for homeowners navigating the bustling market for rooftop solar. The Toronto-based startup likes to think of itself as the Kayak.com of solar. The security dealers will not usurp that role; instead, they will ask basic questions about utility bills and which direction the roof is facing. Then Pure Energies will take over.
After getting the lead from dealers, Pure Energies' sales team contacts interested homeowners to confirm some of the information gathered from the dealer -- information that otherwise would come through digital channels. Pure Energies uses its proprietary software to size solar systems without having to visit the home. Stern said his company signed up a megawatt worth of contracts in Texas this month alone.
Pure Energies then helps the homeowner pick from third-party solar contracts and then delivers customers to the installers. The process, which has been fine-tuned in the past few years, has reduced the cancellation rate for deals, although Stern would not say by how much.
“We’re getting people to understand that they’re just putting glass on their roof to save money for their electric bill,” said Stern.
The Alarm Guys, an Alarm.com dealer in Brentwood, Calif., was the first dealer to sign up for the partnership. Stern said the firm has generated hundreds of leads so far. “We benefit from Pure’s unique online marketplace and trusted-advisor reputation. Companies like ours, with so many feet on the street, are thrilled to partner with Pure,” said Ryan Brown, president of The Alarm Guys.
The partnership with Alarm.com dealers could be just the first step. Stern said the company is interested in partnering with any company that has a relationship in the home, whether that’s HVAC contractors, telecoms or cable companies. Keep an eye on cable companies, which are particularly eager to pad their bottom lines with new energy services as people move away from cable subscriptions in favor of digital content.