German battery manufacturer sonnen is keen to expand its solar energy storage investment in Australia with a major new injection of funds.
Sonnen has secured funding of US$71 million from Shell Ventures to implement its ambitious plans.
According to sonnen’s chief executive Christoph Ostermann, the battery storage giant wants to expand its Australian grid-related services. It does this by allowing users of its hallmark sonnenBatterie product to take up the manufacturer’s unique sonnenFlat service, which is available in many parts of the country.
sonnenFlat: free electricity with sonnen as energy retailer
Importantly, it also wants to grow its ‘sonnen community’. For example, sonnenFlat users in Australia can get 7,500 kWh of electricity free annually if they choose sonnen as their electricity retailer.
Because customers are part of this revolutionary solar trading scheme, they are subsequently less dependent on baseload power generation.
Sonnen also provides battery storage systems for customers with rooftop solar panels then links them up with other users. Germany is currently Europe’s biggest solar market.
The rise of solar energy storage technology worldwide
Sonnen has already sold 30,000 batteries worldwide with combined capacity of 210 megawatts, according to Reuters.
While this is similar to the output of a small fossil fuelled power plant, it is really only the start of the journey for global battery uptake.
The company provides battery storage hardware and software to customers wanting to be more energy self-sufficient. Consumers are therefore less reliant on big power utilities.
Solar energy has already reached its ‘tipping point’ where costs for the consumer fall significantly. While battery technology has been slower to peak, it is increasingly more viable in terms of price and efficiency.
Sonnen has made a name by aggregating battery owners into a single virtual power plant. By teaming up with grid companies, it has helped iron out imbalances in transmission networks.
Sonnen’s turnover grew by 65 per cent to 65 million euros in 2017. According to Ostermann, this outpaces growth in German solar battery sales of 30 per cent.
Reports show Australia leads world in battery technology
Meanwhile, a 2018 report by the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMO) shows battery storage can help even out peaks and troughs as coal-fired power stations are decommissioned.