Son­nen’s al­ter­na­tive en­ergy model

The Australian Energy Review - - NEWS: RENEWABLE ENERGY - EL­IZ­A­BETH FABRI

GER­MAN en­ergy bat­tery man­u­fac­turer son­nen has in­tro­duced an Aus­tralian-first power pro­gram that chal­lenges the cur­rent util­ity power sup­ply model by charg­ing en­ergy users a monthly fee to cover house­hold elec­tric­ity costs.

Launched in July, the son­nen­flat pro­gram in­volved in­stal­la­tion of the son­nen­bat­terie, fol­lowed by a monthly flat rate fee of be­tween $30 and $50.

In ex­change, son­nen would gain ac­cess to en­ergy stored in the house­hold’s bat­tery to sell back into the grid dur­ing peak de­mand, and take on the risk of volatile power prices for the house­hold.

son­nen said un­der mod­el­ling for a three-bed­room home, the pro­gram was es­ti­mated to save house­holds about $3000 in power costs per an­num, with a re­turn on in­vest­ment for the bat­tery within five to six years.

“House­holds are strug­gling un­der ever chang­ing and ever ris­ing power bills, and in­stead we are of­fer­ing to pay those charges in ex­change for a flat charge; it is like a mo­bile phone plan,” son­nen man­ag­ing di­rec­tor and chief sales and mar­ket­ing of­fi­cer Philipp Schroeder said.

“The son­nen­bat­terie is the only bat­tery ca­pa­ble of hav­ing power stored in the bat­tery drawn down for the pur­poses of sup­ply­ing en­ergy to the grid – and leave suf­fi­cient power for the house­hold – be­cause of the abil­ity of its lithium-iron-phos­phate bat­tery to charge and dis­charge up to three times a day, and the in­clu­sion of its high-tech “smart” con­trol.”

son­nen Aus­tralia man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Chris Par­ratt said de­mand for bat­ter­ies was be­com­ing so strong, the com­pany was con­sid­er­ing set­ting up a man­u­fac­tur­ing op­er­a­tion in Aus­tralia.

“Ris­ing de­mand be­cause of ever-in­creas­ing power costs and a de­sire amongst house­holds to be as in­de­pen­dent of the util­i­ties as pos­si­ble means we are get­ting close to mak­ing a de­ci­sion on man­u­fac­ture here,” Mr Par­ratt said.

“We are also get­ting strong de­mand out of Asia, and Aus­tralia would be the plat­form to sup­ply these mar­kets too. The case is get­ting stronger all the time.”

son­nen sole dis­trib­u­tor Flex Aus­tralia man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Wilf John­ston said the tech­nol­ogy was the “next step in the evo­lu­tion of the en­ergy stor­age space”.

“son­nen­flat rep­re­sents the right di­rec­tion to­wards chang­ing the Aus­tralian en­ergy land­scape. We are ex­cited to work with son­nen and de­ploy son­nen­flat across Aus­tralia through our part­ner net­work,” Mr John­ston said.

Im­age: son­nen.

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