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M&A: Uplight Acquires DERMS, Energy Transition Specialist AutoGrid from Schneider Electric

December 15, 2023 by Joe Panettieri

Uplight is acquiring AutoGrid, a Virtual Power Plant (VPP) and Distributed Energy Resource Management System (DERMS) provider. The seller is Schneider Electric. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Luis D’Acosta, CEO, Uplight

Among the plot twists: Schneider Electric has owned AutoGrid for a year or so, and also is an investor in Uplight.

The Uplight-AutoGrid M&A deal will "provide utilities and new energy players with a single platform to integrate, orchestrate, and monetize distributed energy resources (DERs)," the buyer said. The expanded resource list will include more types of electric vehicles (EVs), water heaters, HVAC systems, solar, and grid-scale storage. The combined business will have roughly 700 employees.

Related: Uplight's partner ecosystem strategy is outlined here. Moreover, hundreds of M&A deals involving sustainability and green IT services are listed here.

Business Background: What Does AutoGrid Do?

AutoGrid, based in Redwood City, California, develops management applications that allow utilities, electricity retailers, renewable energy project developers and energy service providers to "deliver clean, affordable and reliable energy by managing networked distributed energy resources (DERs) in real time and at scale," the company asserts.

Ruben Llanes, CEO, AutoGrid

AutoGrid has more than 7.6K megawatts of DERs under management with energy companies around the world. Key customers include E.ON, Bonneville Power Administration, Florida Power & Light, Southern California Edison, Eneco, Portland General Electric, CPS Energy, New Hampshire Electric Cooperative, NextEra Energy and CLEAResult, the software company said.

Schneider Electric and AutoGrid have worked together since 2015. The duo announced a fully integrated Advanced Distribution Management System (ADMS) and Distributed Energy Resources Management System (DERMS) in 2020. Then, Schneider Electric acquired AutoGrid in 2022 in a bid to "add 1,000+ GW of renewable and distributed energy resources to the grid in the coming decade," the buyer said at the time.

Business Background: How and When Was Uplight Formed?

Uplight, based in Boulder, Colorado, develops software solutions that align energy customers with their decarbonization goals, while helping customers save energy and lower costs, the business asserts. Uplight was formed in 2019 through the merger of Tendril (data analytics) and Simple Energy (consumer engagement marketplace). Uplight's launch involved additional tuck-in acquisitions such as as EEmeEnergySavvy and FirstFuel.

Schneider Electric invested in Uplight in March 2021. Huck Capital, Coatue and Inclusive Capital Partners participated in the round, which was valued at $1.5 billion. We don't know the company's current valuation. Rubicon Technology Partners also remains a minority investor in Uplight.

Uplight Acquires AutoGrid: Executive Perspectives

In a prepared statement about the deal, Uplight CEO Luis D’Acosta said: “The grid is at a critical inflection point that demands integrated, effective digital solutions to accelerate electrification, efficiency, and decarbonization. Our new platform will combine Uplight’s deep customer engagement capabilities and AutoGrid’s leading renewables and flexible capacity management solutions to provide a vibrant connected ecosystem where our utility clients, energy users, and equipment manufacturers can accelerate their impact in the energy transition.”

Added AutoGrid CEO Ruben Llanes: “Energy companies are increasingly looking for a solution which encompasses the full spectrum of flexibility management, from grid scale batteries down to devices in people’s homes,. By joining forces, we are creating a truly world-class experience for those energy companies, ecosystem partners, and energy customers alike – all powered by our shared mission and global expertise.”

Uplight acquires distributed energy resource management system (DERMs) provider AutoGrid. The seller, Schneider Electric, also owns a big stake in the buyer.
Nadege Petit, chief innovation officer, Schneider Electric

Concluded Nadege Petit, chief innovation officer of Schneider Electric: "To meet global decarbonization goals and accelerate a clean energy future, the industry needs a fully integrated platform to unlock grid flexibility at scale. Incorporating the demand side capabilities from AutoGrid into Uplight creates a Prosumer energy platform supporting VPPs and other load flexibility programs to make the grid more resilient, reliable, affordable, and sustainable.”

The deal is expected to close in early 2024.

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