When Alarm.com first got into the home energy management fray about three years ago, we speculated that home security companies could have both a first mover advantage and be well positioned because of dealer networks that can leverage existing relationships with customers.
Fast forward to summer of 2013, as Alarm.com piles up partnerships on the energy side of its connected home business. The most recent is One Block Off the Grid (1BOG) to provide customers with rooftop solar options.
“We have really been focused in broadening our energy services,” said Alison Slavin, co-founder and VP of product management for Alarm.com.
Alarm.com chose 1BOG to give its customers the broadest possible solar options. 1BOG, which was purchased by Pure Energies Group last year, offers one-stop shopping for homeowners considering solar options, including power purchase agreements (PPAs), leasing, custom payments and prepaid options from various solar installers.
The bevy of new relationships is possible because of considerable work that Alarm.com has done on its backend system after raising $136 million last summer. A few years ago, Alarm.com was looking at how to ensure every item in a connected home, from a light bulb to door lock to wireless thermostat, could communicate with the others. “Now we can do cloud-to-cloud integration, which has enabled us to take on partnerships much faster,” said Slavin. For the solar option, Alarm.com will bring in data from each of the solar providers that 1BOG works with into its cloud-based platform for any customer that installs solar.
“We’re looking to make this a seamless process with the dealers,” said Chris Stern, VP of business development for 1BOG and parent company Pure Energies Group. “It’s not just them passing us a lead.”
It’s unclear how the new partnership will be used by one of Alarm.com’s biggest resellers, Vivint, another of the country’s larger home alarm companies. Vivint expanded into third-party-financed residential solar last year, lining up $75 million for its solar business.
Vivint’s solar business is a separate entity from its security business, and the security side will have the option to sell Alarm.com’s 1BOG offerings. Slavin said it remains to be seen how interested Vivint would be in pushing that offering, but “we have the opportunity to raise a lot of awareness” about residential solar, she added.
For solar installers, energy efficiency is also becoming increasingly important as part of the value proposition. At the recent Renewable Energy Finance Forum, SolarCity noted it has already completed 16,000 home energy audits.
One of Alarm.com’s goals is to sell the notion of one app to control them all, instead of separate apps for everything from lights to locks to rooftop solar energy production. Although Alarm.com never planned to become a solar installer, it built out its platform to be able to integrate with rooftop PV even before the 1BOG partnership was announced.
The rollout, which officially starts later this summer, will kickoff in the states where 1BOG already has traction, including California, Arizona, Hawaii, New Jersey and Massachusetts. The program should be available in 26 states by the end of the year.