Australian Battery Storage Market Heats up as Tesla and Sonnen Vie for Position

July 4, 2017
One Step Off the Grid’s Sophie Vorrath describes the latest moves by the Tesla rival, Sonnen, as the Australian battery storage market heats up.

One Step Off the Grid’s Sophie Vorrath describes the latest moves by Tesla rival, Sonnen, as the Australian battery storage market heats up.

NSW-based Natural Solar said on Monday it was taking the role of premier Sonnen installer in the Australian market, rolling out the first series of sonnenFlat installations around the country, much as it did with Tesla’s Powerwall, both versions 1 and 2.

According to the website, prices start at $11,587 for a 6 kWh sonnenBatterie Eco 8 Daily Cycle Home Battery. Add another $5,000 if you haven’t already got a solar system to go with it.

Long established as Germany’s premium battery storage maker, Sonnen has had a keen eye on the Australian market, having recently declared it to be its biggest target market outside Europe.

And in February this year – just months after launching its residential battery storage offering onto the Australian market – Sonnen flagged the introduction of its “Sonnen flat” deal, which offers free power to households using the company’s integrated solar and storage system, including for any electricity drawn from the grid when the sun goes down and stored energy is used up.

In return, Sonnen gains access to its customers’ installed battery storage capacity, to use as a sort of virtual power plant, to provide grid balancing services to network operators – most of the time, without any discernible impact at the customer’s end.

In comments on Monday, Sonnen managing director of global sales and marketing, Philipp Schroeder, said the company was always looking for pioneers who truly understand the evolution of the ‘new energy environment’.

“In every market, we look to partner with these pioneers, and strongly believe Natural Solar are a leader in the field who will support sonnen to do this,” Schroeder said.

“By the end of the year, we believe Australia will be our second biggest market.”

The deal also marks a coup for Natural Solar, and paints a vivid picture of the current state Australia’s home battery storage market, where fierce competition between battery makers is playing into soaring demand from the nation’s millions of solar households.

According to Natural Solar founder and CEO, Chris Williams, his company has seen customer demand for residential solar and storage grow by more than 1000 percent in the past 18 months – an extraordinary spike that is expected to continue as electricity prices rise by up to 20 percent in a number of Australian states, starting this month.

“There is no doubt interest will flourish as consumers are lured by affordability, the promise of savings and the environmental benefits of battery and solar power,” Williams said in comments on Monday.

For this reason, he added, “Natural Solar has made the decision to diversify its energy storage product offering and work with the world’s leading product by installed volume in the home battery market.

“Sonnen have installed more than 20,000 battery storage solutions globally and the launch of sonnenFlat will be an absolute industry game-changer when it comes to home energy storage in Australia,” he said.

“This is a huge shift in technology, and will bring consumers the added benefit of confirmed and proven savings and proven savings.”

This article originally appeared on One Step Off the Grid and was reposted with permission.

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