Draker Labs, one of the leading providers of monitoring systems and services for commercial and utility-scale solar power, had to “downsize” last Friday, according to the Burlington Free Press.
Sources indicate that most or all of the company’s employees were let go. Other sources suggest that Draker has left customers without monitoring capabilities and that Washington Gas & Electric was scrambling for a replacement.
Last month, Draker and monitoring firm Inaccess were set to merge. The two firms would have had a combined portfolio of 5 gigawatts of utility and commercial-scale solar power plants, according to the report Global PV Monitoring 2014-2018 by GTM Research and SoliChamba Consulting
That deal fell through.
Sources close to the deal suggest that Draker had a high cost structure and was being pressured by competitors such as Also Energy and Locus Energy.
But all is not lost?
Here’s the text of a letter from Draker Executive Chairman Everett S. McGinley sent to customers on Thursday saying that Draker had signed an agreement with “a leading solar industry solution provider.”
Valued Draker Clients
We are pleased to announce that Draker has signed an agreement with a leading solar industry solution provider for the continuation of Draker’s business and service to its clients. The agreement provides for the following:
Draker’s monitoring services will continue without interruption.
Key system management staff are being recalled to work immediately to ensure continuity of service.
Draker and the buyer intend to fulfill the installation, set-up and commissioning of previously-contracted business at new sites with the least schedule disruption possible.
Customers for new sites will be contacted individually within the next few days to confirm orders and discuss scheduling.
A closing of the acquisition is anticipated as early in September as practicable, with a target of mid-month. Resumption of service and support will begin immediately, however, prior to the acquisition closing.
The Draker team appreciates the support of its clients and looks forward to continuing to serve them in the future.
What vendor might want to acquire Draker?
Inaccess might want to reengage and we’ve heard talk of companies like SunEdison or SunPower taking an interest, although solar companies have a bit less buying power than they did a few weeks ago. Cedric Brehaut from SoliChamba Consulting, author of the GTM report, notes that “due to the business practice of selling monitoring software subscriptions 5-year up-front (mostly to leverage the ITC), the existing installed base is not necessarily seen as an asset but a liability.”
“The most likely scenario”, adds Brehaut, “is that a downstream company operating a large fleet of megawatt-scale PV plants picks up Draker for its software platform, in order to bring monitoring in-house and/or to replace internally-developed software with Draker technology.”
In the meantime, competitors like AlsoEnergy and Solectria are trying to migrate Draker’s customers to their platform.