Raptor Maps Announces Former Wood Mackenzie Exec James Wagstaff as CRO

Raptor Maps Announces Former Wood Mackenzie Exec James Wagstaff as CRO

James Wagstaff, Raptor Maps CRO

Wagstaff and other key hires will help the solar analytics software leader advance its mission to make the industry more productive and profitable.

BOSTON, MA, July 15, 2022 ― Raptor Maps, the leading provider of solar lifecycle management software, announced it has expanded its team with several new strategic hires who will advance the software company’s mission to scale the solar industry. The company recently closed its Series B funding.

James Wagstaff joins Raptor Maps as the Chief Revenue Officer to lead the company’s ambitious sales efforts.  Wagstaff is an established sales executive in the energy industry with a track record of delivering high-growth results for energy SaaS and data companies.  Over the past 14 years, Wagstaff has led sales, customer success, and commercial strategy and has overseen domestic and international expansion.  Wagstaff is well-known in the energy industry for commercializing high-value software to help energy executives with their most pressing challenges.

“I couldn’t be more excited about joining Raptor Maps and contributing to the stellar team that co-founders Nikhil and Eddie have built,” says Wagstaff.  “Customers look to Raptor Maps for practical, actionable data and insights to improve their solar operations and financial performance.  I’m looking forward to helping the company make the solar energy industry more efficient and productive.”

Wagstaff’s hiring is part of a larger team expansion at Raptor Maps that includes significant hiring across marketing, product, operations, software, and knowledge.

The hires include Don Nista as Head of Knowledge.  The former Director of Operations for SB Energy, Vice President for O&M at Goldman Sachs, and Vice President for O&M at Cypress Creek Renewables is charged with advancing Raptor Maps’ solar energy industry insights.  Nista will apply his hard-won expertise to the entire utility-scale and C&I solar industry and accelerate Raptor Maps’ ability to deliver value to customers across the solar lifecycle.

“It is a pleasure to join Raptor Maps and lead the company’s vision to provide solar energy industry analytics and knowledge that will transform the renewable sector,” says Nista.

The new hires follow Raptor Maps’ $22 million round of Series B funding with significant contributions from MacKinnon, Bennett & Co. (MKB) and the Microsoft Climate Innovation Fund, and participation from Blue Bear Capital, DNV, Buoyant Ventures, Congruent Ventures, Data Point Capital and ENGIE New Ventures.  The funding round fuels Raptor Solar, the groundbreaking climate tech software platform that lets utility-scale and C&I solar companies standardize and analyze data, collaborate, optimize PV assets, reduce risk and ultimately lift financial return.

 “Raptor Maps’ industry-leading technology is predicated on the work of the highest caliber talent in renewable energy,” says Raptor Maps CEO and Co-Founder Nikhil Vadhavkar.  “We’re thrilled to welcome James and others to the team and know they will help advance our mission to make the solar energy industry more efficient and profitable.”

About Raptor Maps

Raptor Maps offers advanced analytics, insights and productivity software for the entire solar lifecycle.  The Raptor Solar software platform features a digital twin of your solar sites, aerial thermal inspections, data standardization and normalization, serial number mapping, warranty claim features, equipment records, mobile tools and more — all powered by their industry-leading data model.  With intelligence for the entire solar industry — asset owners, managers, O&M, engineers, EPCs, financiers and OEMs — you can standardize and compare data across installations, increase performance, reduce risk and ultimately lift ROI.

 

Cypress Creek Renewables Chooses Raptor Maps’ New Insights Platform to Maximize Returns Across Its Portfolio

Cypress Creek Renewables Chooses Raptor Maps’ New Insights Platform to Maximize Returns Across Its Portfolio


Data, analytics and insights allow more intelligent decision-making for the solar industry.

BOSTON, MA, May 2, 2022 — Cypress Creek Renewables, one of the largest utility-scale solar developers, owners and O&M providers in the United States, announced they’ll be using the new analytics and insights platform from Raptor Maps, Raptor Solar.  Raptor Solar, an advanced software solution, standardizes data, analyzes findings and lifts productivity, which will enable Cypress Creek to maximize power output and returns from their extensive 3.9 GW portfolio of over 300 company-owned and third-party managed sites in 19 states.

Raptor Maps has for about a half decade provided Cypress Creek with state-of-the-art PV module inspections.  Layering Raptor Solar onto Raptor Maps is a force multiplier in value to Cypress Creek.  Raptor Solar enables Cypress Creek to deliver an industry leading availability guarantee for the assets they manage through their innovative and data driven services.

Raptor Maps creates digital twins of Cypress Creek’s solar arrays, offering a bird’s-eye view of portfolios, enabling a host of associated features that allow them to optimize performance.

“We’re excited that Raptor Solar allows us to digitize portfolios, make data-informed decisions and enable a new phase of growth for Cypress Creek and our clients,” says Jared Kirk, Vice President of Operations & Maintenance at Cypress Creek Renewables.  “Output from the software allows us to be more proactive in decision making with a higher degree of confidence.  Raptor Solar’s productivity tools free up our time to focus on the overall efficiency and returns of our portfolio and those we manage for third parties.”  

 


Unlimited inspection reports that are standard with Raptor Solar ― including digitization of historical and third-party reports ― allow Cypress Creek to inspect sites more frequently and in greater detail, gaining a continuous understanding of assets, including detailed and accurate comparisons over time.

The Raptor Maps data model also integrates information from Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) and Data Acquisition Systems (DAS), such as irradiance data.  This enables more sophisticated degradation analysis using normalized temperature deltas, which can strengthen warranty claims.

“Our digital twins incorporate geospatial and electrical relationships to create a standardized data model across the entire Cypress Creek fleet,” remarks Nikhil Vadhavkar, CEO and co-founder of Raptor Maps.  “Enterprises need to be able to click on a module in a fully populated digital twin, see factory performance data, trace the shipping container it arrived on, the moment the equipment was verified as installed, the inverter it is connected to, the performance of that inverter, current or historical issues with that module and the financial implications of O&M decisions.  Cypress Creek recognizes that scalable software infrastructure is crucial to manage these 25+ year assets and we are proud to support their digitization efforts.”

“We’ve tested Raptor Maps’ insights platform and found its data and learnings to be reliable, practical and very actionable.  With a digital model of our solar portfolio and the features associated with it, we save time in the field and improve our productivity and competitiveness,” says Mitchell DuRant, Reliability Engineering Program Manager at Cypress Creek.  “The app also makes it easy when in the field to navigate to panels associated with anomalies, store geo-tagged photos and site notes and keep a record of maintenance histories.”

 

 

About Raptor Maps 

Raptor Maps offers advanced analytics, insights and productivity software for the entire solar lifecycle.  The Raptor Solar software platform features a digital twin of your solar sites, aerial thermal inspections, data standardization and normalization, serial number mapping, warranty claim features, equipment records, mobile tools and more — all powered by their industry-leading data model.  With intelligence for the entire solar industry — asset owners, managers, O&M, engineers, EPCs, financiers and OEMs — you can standardize and compare data across installations, increase performance, reduce risk and ultimately lift ROI. 

 

About Cypress Creek Renewables

Cypress Creek Renewables is powering a sustainable future, one project at a time.  Cypress Creek develops, finances, owns and operates utility-scale and distributed solar facilities across the country.  With 11.5 GW of solar developed and 3.9 GW under management, Cypress Creek is one of the country’s leading solar and storage developers and O&M providers.  For more, visit ccrenew.com.

 

Solar Lifecycle Management Software Leader Raptor Maps Raises $22 Million to Advance Analytics & Insights

Solar Lifecycle Management Software Leader Raptor Maps Raises $22 Million to Advance Analytics & Insights

 

 

Funding round led by MK with substantial contribution from the Microsoft Climate Innovation Fund highlights the power of data and analytics in lifting solar energy ROI.

 

BOSTON, MA, April 13, 2022 ― Raptor Maps, the leading provider of solar lifecycle management software, announced it closed $22 million in Series B funding to supercharge its groundbreaking Raptor Solar software platform.  

The round is led by Canadian private investment firm MacKinnon, Bennett & Co. (MKB), which specializes in accelerating innovation in energy, transportation and climate tech.  Other investors include the Microsoft Climate Innovation Fund, Blue Bear Capital, DNV, Buoyant Ventures, Congruent Ventures, Data Point Capital and ENGIE New Ventures.  

Raptor Solar is an advanced software-as-a-service platform for the entire solar lifecycle — from financing and development through operations.  Raptor Solar lets utility-scale and C&I solar companies standardize and analyze data, collaborate, optimize PV assets, reduce risk and ultimately lift financial return. 

The SaaS platform serves as an auditable system of record featuring state-of-the-art digital twins of solar assets.  An industry first, users can scan in module serial numbers to streamline warranty claims and verify supply chains.  Subscribers benefit from inspection analytics, productivity tools and ability to quantify financial loss and even benchmark portfolios against Raptor Maps’ global database.  The software solves major growing pains across solar finance, development and asset management.

 

Raptor Solar report comparison with images of data

 

“We’re very excited about our investment in the most sophisticated solar analytics and insights platform on the market,” says Chanel Damphousse, Partner at MKB.  “Raptor Maps has some of the most intelligent and skilled experts in the solar industry, and their product roadmap represents a bold vision for how data married with productivity tools unlocks value across the lifecycle of solar assets.”

The funding will enable Raptor Maps to accelerate its hiring plans with significant investment in product, software and data science.  The company will rapidly advance its feature-rich product roadmap with more functionality related to workflow automation, work orders, investor reporting and insights powered machine learning.  

“Making the solar industry more profitable represents progress towards advancing a sustainable energy future,” explains CEO and co-founder Nikhil Vadhavkar.  “Our mission is to build software that enables solar energy to scale.  We’re delighted to have partners with the right expertise to support our ambitious plans.”  

The world is facing an energy crisis in terms of climate change and the geopolitical need for energy independence.  Energy companies are pushing to decarbonize, alleviate bottlenecks and rapidly scale renewable energy.  Larger players and portfolios mean now more than ever that software is needed to ensure capital and labor are intelligently managed.  

“To meet the world’s urgent climate goals, the energy industry needs tools to become nimbler and deploy renewable energy quickly,” explains Mark Kroese, General Manager, Sustainability Solutions at Microsoft.  “Raptor Maps is digitizing solar supply chains, deployment and operations, which will help accelerate the global transition to cleaner energy solutions.”

Raptor Maps’ insights are powered by machine learning and their industry-leading data model created from over 50 GW of solar power across 40 countries.  Their 2022 Global Solar Inspection Report finds that 2.6% of solar power is affected by anomalies.  

The company’s customers include some of the largest owners, operators and builders in the world including Tesla, SOLV Energy, Rosendin Electric, Cypress Creek Renewables and McCarthy.  Raptor Maps’ founders have their roots in MIT and the Y Combinator-born firm is a member of climate tech community Greentown Labs.

The funding is the latest in a string of recent raises in the solar space, indicating substantial opportunity in the industry.  The global solar energy market is projected to grow to $223 billion by 2026, according to Allied Market Research.  

 

 

About Raptor Maps

Raptor Maps offers advanced analytics, insights and productivity software for the entire solar lifecycle.  The Raptor Solar software platform features a digital twin of your solar sites, aerial thermal inspections, data standardization and normalization, serial number mapping, warranty claim features, equipment records, mobile tools and more — all powered by their industry-leading data model.  With intelligence for the entire solar industry — asset owners, managers, O&M, engineers, EPCs, financiers and OEMs — you can standardize and compare data across installations, increase performance, reduce risk and ultimately lift ROI. 

 

About MKB  

MKB is a Canadian private investment firm that specializes in providing growth equity to companies driving innovation in the energy, transportation and climate tech sectors.  MKB takes significant minority positions in its portfolio companies and proactively assists management teams in reaching their full potential.  For more visit mkbandco.com.

 

Raptor Maps Publishes 2022 Global Solar Inspection Report

Raptor Maps Publishes 2022 Global Solar Inspection Report

Analytics and benchmarking software finds 2.63% of power affected across 20GW.

BOSTON, MA, March 10, 2022 — Raptor Maps, the leading provider of solar lifecycle management software, published their fourth annual report on global PV system underperformance.  The company used machine learning to analyze 2021 data from unmanned and manned aircraft inspections across 20 GW of utility and C&I systems.  The proprietary dataset spans 66 million modules in 32 countries including those from a range of installation types, geographies and climates.  JinkoSolar, First Solar, Trina, Canadian Solar, JA Solar and Hanwha were the most common manufacturers in the dataset along with other BloombergNEF Tier-1 modules.  

The report is available for download here.

The analysis reveals a somewhat surprising increase in power affected from anomalies, rising to 2.63% in 2021 from 1.85% in 2020, a more than 100 MW energy production impact.  This increase is driven by string, inverter, combiner, module and tracker anomalies. 

Classifications in the report span functional units including off-nominal inverters, environmental conditions including overgrown vegetation and module or sub-module findings including activated bypass diodes.  The report breaks out the most common PV anomalies at the system level and at the module or sub-module level.  

“Our inspection data shows that solar assets are becoming more anomalous each year,” explains Eddie Obropta, CTO and co-founder of Raptor Maps.  “These findings against the backdrop of increased costs of capital and supply chains underscores the need to use advanced technology to maximize power output.  Operational excellence is no longer enough.  Solar financiers, asset owners and asset managers must leverage data and analytics to make intelligent decisions that reduce soft costs.”

Raptor Maps’ report finds that companies sought more in-depth inspections data in 2021.  The percentage of drone inspections that were Comprehensive — the most granular inspection level — increased from 21% in 2020 to 24% in 2021.  Increasingly more parties are also accessing PV inspection data.  Inspection data owners shared findings with an average of 27 additional users in 2021 — indicating increased communication and collaboration.

In the solar energy industry, aerial inspections are used across all phases of the solar lifecycle at greater frequency.  Asset owners and engineering, procurement and construction companies require inspections during commissioning to de-risk assets, remediate issues, create a quantitative baseline and avoid liquidated damages.  Operations and maintenance companies integrate aerial inspections into annual preventative maintenance as the owner-preferred alternative to current-voltage (I-V) curve tracing.  Counterparties — including module manufacturers, engineers, financiers and others — also use aerial inspections for warranty claims, insurance claims, project benchmarks, due diligence and more.  Raptor Maps fuses aerial inspection image data captured under specific conditions with digital twins of solar assets to offer a complete picture of solar system performance.  

A February report published by the IPCC identified that impacts from climate change are already taking place worldwide.  As countries progress towards a renewable energy future, and investments in solar energy scale rapidly, financiers, developers, owners and operators will increasingly require more sophisticated inspections, software and data analytics to ensure their assets are properly constructed and profitably maintained. 

 

About Raptor Maps

Raptor Maps offers advanced analytics, insights and productivity software for the entire solar lifecycle.  The Raptor Solar software platform features a digital twin of your solar sites, aerial thermal inspections, data standardization and normalization, serial number mapping, warranty claim features, equipment records, mobile tools and more — all powered by their industry-leading data model.  With intelligence for the entire solar industry — asset owners, managers, O&M, engineers, EPCs, financiers and OEMs — you can standardize and compare data across installations, increase performance and ultimately lift ROI.  To learn more, visit RaptorMaps.com.

 

Scan PV Module Barcodes into a Digital Twin to Lift Productivity

Scan PV Module Barcodes into a Digital Twin to Lift Productivity

A digital twin based on your as-built empowers your company to track where solar modules come from, lift productivity, and reduce risks and expenses.  In this audio transcript from the Watts Up podcast, Nikhil Vadhavkar, CEO and co-founder of Raptor Maps, explains how we use smartphones to log solar module serial numbers into a digital twin of a solar site.  

A digital twin is a virtual model of a physical object, system or process.  Raptor Maps uses state-of-the-art digital twins to help companies manage performance and lifecycle data pertaining to solar farms.  Solar arrays can be quite large, containing millions of modules.  Having a digital twin makes project commissioning easier, including allowing you to verify supply chains for safe harboring.  It also enables a host of features that lift staff productivity, power output and ultimately financial return.     

Marie Burgquist:  The software, from my understanding, has a barcode scanning feature.  Could you talk us through the process and the benefits of having that feature?

Nikhil Vadhavkar:  Absolutely.  One of the major thrusts in solar has been supply chain traceability and transparency.  Especially as more money earmarked for what’s called environment, sustainability and governance goes into solar, that traceability is critical. People want to know . . . Where is their equipment?  Was it ethically sourced?

If you’re going to safe harbor [solar projects for tax filing], you have to keep very careful track of where that equipment is and where it is installed.

What we found was that you’ve got a couple really important moments in the solar lifecycle where you can structure all of the data.  One of them is during construction.

We looked and we said . . .  “Every module has a serial number.  We know that these serial numbers have to be captured for warranty claims.  How come that’s not being captured upfront?  How come that’s not being scanned into a really rigorous data model?”

The answer was:  “It’s always time and money, right?”  When you’re building a utility-scale site, you might have a million-plus modules.

But we’ve come a long way.  Both in terms of the digital twin, which enables you to go much faster, but also in terms of advances like smartphones [and] optical character recognition.

We said,  “What if you could kill two birds with one stone?  What if you could create that documentation that’s used to automate that paperwork and derisk it for the owners?”  Basically, pull future OPEX into a smaller amount of CAPEX today.  But also be able to do it at scale, so you can have 30 people [or] 100 people scanning everything simultaneously.

Smartphones were the solution.  One of the things that we’ve launched and successfully used with some of the biggest independent power providers and construction companies is a mobile application where anyone can download the mobile app and scan the serial number into the digital twin.

And importantly, not only is that information validated, but it’s a living model.  People think solar farms are static and they’re actually pretty dynamic.  You might need to swap things out.  You might have a weather event, put in an insurance claim, things like that.

We also enabled people to maintain that digital model.  So when it’s passing from party to party, they have the latest understanding of what that asset looks like.      

 

**

This is a snapshot of the interview, transcribed partially and edited lightly.  

You can listen to the rest of the podcast on a variety of services via Anchor.  

 Watts Up is produced by GRNE Solar

About Raptor Maps  

Raptor Maps offers an advanced software platform to standardize data, analyze insights and collaborate across solar.  Commissioning info, serial number mapping, equipment records, inspections, aerial thermography, warranty claims, mobile tools and more — all powered by our industry-leading data model.  Intelligence for the entire solar industry — asset owners, managers, O&M, engineers, EPCs, financiers and OEMs.  Standardize and compare data across installations, increase performance and reduce costs.  

 

CEO Reveals Origins of Solar Software Company

CEO Reveals Origins of Solar Software Company

 

How did Raptor Maps, the leading solar lifecycle software company, get started at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology?  And what was the original idea that sparked it all?  This Watts Up podcast episode has the answer. 

The company developed Raptor Solar to improve solar project performance and strengthen ROI.  The software uses digital twins or maps of solar farms to aid with such tasks as verifying construction and supply chains, normalizing inspection data, streamlining warranty claims and simplifying the increasingly complex task of managing solar projects.  

Conner Allen:  So, today we interviewed the cofounder of Raptor Maps.  Had a very interesting conversation about what Raptor Maps does. 

Marie Burgquist:  If you’re really into data, if you’re into analytics, also if you’re into solar, you’ve gotten to the right place . . .  We now welcome the co-founder of Raptor Maps. 

Nikhil Vadhavkar:  Thank you for having me . . .  I’m the co-founder and CEO of Raptor Maps.  We were actually founded out of MIT and our goal is to build software to enable the solar industry to scale. 

Allen:  So, Nikhil, can you give me a little insight on what gave you the idea to really come up with this software? 

Vadhavkar:  When I met Eddie, my co-founder, we were both writing software for different entities in the aerospace world.  So I was doing thermal control system simulations for space suits for NASA and he was . . . doing some work for SpaceX as well as for the Navy.

. . . We kept our eye on big trends in aerospace and software.  I actually, a couple years before that, had had a grant from the Gates Foundation to build and deploy unmanned aerial vehicles or drones for emergency medical supply delivery.

So I was getting familiar with the revolutions in remote sensing.  And what we realized was that there was a big opportunity to basically digitize assets that were geospatially distributed and then run machine learning on all of these new types of data in order to bring it all together in one platform.  So there were a lot of enabling technologies.

What got us into solar was, as you guys know and have experienced, was that the really great thing for solar is that it’s come down the cost curve.

Solar is going to be 20% of the carbon offset solution for climate change.

So you’ve got solar being deployed at a faster rate than ever before.  Part of that driving force is the lower levelized cost of electricity.

What that means is the models are tighter, the operations and maintenance budgets are tighter, and you’ve got to do more with less.  

Where that really brings Raptor Maps into the picture is that we saw that a lot of O&M companies in particular . . .  were purchasing drones, $20,000-$30,000 drones.  They were getting credentials for their technicians and they were flying [drones] over solar farms in order to replace the old, dirty, dangerous, manual testing that was required.  And it looked really promising.

They didn’t have any software infrastructure to do it at scale.  And so that’s really where they came to us and said, “Looks like you guys are doing some pretty interesting work that could be relevant.  Can you help us scale?” 

The more we looked into it, the more we said, “Yeah, this is exactly what we need to be doing.  This is our calling.”  

Burgquist:  Can you tell us about how Raptor Solar can help scale the solar industry?

Vadhavkar:  The solar industry, if you look at it historically, was built by accountants and lawyers.  And that makes a lot of sense, right, when you’ve got high subsidies and smaller projects.  But from a scalability standpoint, documentation standpoint, optimization standpoint, that doesn’t work any more, right?

We’re going to have $6.4 trillion going into this industry in the coming decades.  And so, fundamentally, when we think about Raptor Maps and Raptor Solar, which is our software platform, we think about the data model and think about, “How do you build up a digital twin not just of a solar farm, commercial and industrial or utility-scale, but have a portfolio, an interoperable system for the entire industry?”

What Raptor Solar is and the way it works is that we create a digital model of an asset and then we’re able to, in a highly-structured way, layer in things like inspection results, time-series data [and] the production or the weather data, for example, from onsite sensors.  We can layer in equipment records like serial numbers and other sorts of documentation for supply chain verification and validation.

And very importantly, these types of data, because they’re in a structured data model, [are] not in isolation.  By combining them, by querying them in a certain way, we can . . .  unlock value and automate things that enable our customers, both owners, operators and builders, to optimize their systems.   

**

This is a snapshot of the interview, transcribed partially and edited lightly.  

You can listen to the rest of the podcast on a variety of services via Anchor.  

Watts Up is produced by GRNE Solar, which is a customer of Raptor Maps. 

 

About Raptor Maps  

Raptor Maps offers an advanced software platform to standardize data, analyze insights and collaborate across solar.  Commissioning info, serial number mapping, equipment records, inspections, aerial thermography, warranty claims, mobile tools and more — all powered by our industry-leading data model.  Intelligence for the entire solar industry — asset owners, managers, O&M, engineers, EPCs, financiers and OEMs.  Standardize and compare data across installations, increase performance and reduce costs.