Households replace power plants – sonnen is commissioning the largest, virtual battery for the electricity grid of the future

For the first time, sonnen is supplying reserve power to the German energy market using networked battery storage systems. This creates the largest virtual battery currently in operation which can compensate for fluctuations in the power grid. Households are thus able to take on all the tasks of conventional power plants. 

sonnen, together with its technology partner tiko Energy Solutions, has received the pre-qualification from the transmission system operator TenneT for the provision of primary control power for its Germany-wide network of home battery storage.

Thus, sonnen provides the energy market with the largest virtual battery available today, consisting exclusively of individual home storage systems. This can be used, for example, to compensate for fluctuations in the power grid. In addition to supplying its customers with clean and decentralized electricity, sonnen can now also provide flexibility for the energy markets, expanding its offer as an energy provider of the future.

“We are very happy that as a young company we are writing energy history. This shows that our customers can take on all the functions previously reserved for large power plants. They can generate and store energy and ensure the security of supply in the power grid. The change from the old energy system with central power plants to the new energy system with the human being in the center, thus becomes final “, says Jean-Baptiste Cornefert, managing director of sonnen eServices.

The virtual battery from sonnen works on a unique approach. It consists of thousands of individual electricity storage facilities throughout the country that are used for their own households’ own consumption. If there are fluctuations in the power grid, these batteries arrange themselves automatically by artificial intelligence to create a large virtual battery. Since every solar battery has a different state of charge, the large number of individual battery services is combined in a block from 1 MW and made available to the energy market. TenneT’s purchase of the virtual battery meant they had to disconnect and re-power 1 megawatt of power within 30 seconds. With the test successfully completed, the virtual battery has qualified for participation in the so-called primary control energy market.

With this power, for example, short-term fluctuations in the power grid can be compensated within a very short time. If there are deviations in the mains frequency of 50 Hz, the memories can automatically absorb or release energy from the network in a matter of seconds – depending on what is needed. So far, mainly CO2-intensive power plants are used for this primary control power. sonnen’s networked home storage helps to take these power plants off the grid faster.

“We are proud that we have been able to implement our virtual power plant technology with sonnen. For the German market, this is a pioneering work, so battery storage can provide the dual benefits of self-consumption and various services in the energy market. With sonnen, we were able to show, among other things, that primary control power can also be supplied with home battery storage in Germany, “says Fréderic Gastaldo, CEO of tiko Energy Solutions.

“The ability of networked battery storage as a virtual power plant to stabilize the grid in the event of frequency fluctuations is another step on the way to greater system integration of renewable energy,” said Lex Hartman, CEO of TenneT. “System services that stabilize power supply have so far been provided mainly by conventional power plants, and as renewables become more widely used in power generation, they need to be more accountable,” says Hartman.

Prequalification for the primary control power market is subject to the strictest requirements of technology and safety in the energy market. As sonnen has now received the highest certification, its network of home battery storage is also predestined for further services in the electricity grid. In contrast to stationary large storage facilities or power plants, sonnen’s decentralized battery pool can be used flexibly in almost every location in Germany.

Customers benefit from the energy market

With the sonnenFlat, sonnen offers a specially developed electricity tariff that enables storage owners to benefit from the network services. In exchange for the provided capacity, they receive a free flow. The use of renewable energy is even more profitable for solar battery owners.

sonnen has about 30,000 solar batteries in Europe, which together have a capacity of up to 300 MWh. This creates the potential to power around 120,000 households for one hour. The size of the individual solar batteries is between 5 and 15 kWh.

News: sonnen selected as the lead partner for the Cornwall Local Energy Market residential project



sonnen are working with Centrica, the UK’s largest retail energy supplier, to create the country’s largest virtual power plant to include 100 households with a solar photovoltaic system and a sonnenBatterie.

As part of the EU funded Cornwall Local Energy Market (LEM) programme, the ground-breaking project will demonstrate how households can not only produce and store their own energy but also trade energy capacity to the wholesale energy market and provide flexibility to the local grid.

The participating households will significantly lower their electricity bills by using a sonnenBatterie to optimize their consumption of solar energy. Connected by sonnen’s digital platform for virtual power plants, they will also be able to buy and store energy from the grid when prices are low or sell their energy to the grid when prices are high. The platform could even enable households to be paid when they reduce or delay their consumption from the grid.

“We’re proud to be contributing our leading knowledge in battery storage and virtual power plants in this historic project. The Cornwall LEM provides a window into an energy future that will consist of millions of decentralized producers of renewable energies. With their huge experience and extensive reach across the energy industry, Centrica is the perfect partner for this groundbreaking project.”, says Martin Allman, Country Director of sonnen UK.

The batteries installed on the LEM platform can operate dynamically using price signals. At times where there is low electricity demand and excess generation from solar PV, prices are low and it is more cost effective to store energy in the battery. At the same time, storing energy during the production peaks provides flexibility to help relieve the local grid network. If electricity demand is greater than the PV generation, prices increase and it becomes more attractive to sell the stored energy to the grid and wholesale market. In this way, the LEM platform uses price signals to provide flexibility to the grid which might otherwise be constrained at time of peak or low demand.

“Through the Cornwall LEM we want to show that a decentralized and digital energy system is already possible using today’s technology and that we don’t have to wait 10 years”, says Allman. “The energy landscape is seeing huge changes which will continue much faster than many people think. We are thrilled to be able to demonstrate the role that smart batteries in homes can play in the transition towards a secure, affordable and low carbon energy system”.

The solar PV systems and batteries will be installed by January 2018, with further testing and development of the VPP platform set to continue until Spring 2020.


sonnen closes new EUR 60 million financing round and adds Shell Ventures as new investor

sonnen is pleased to announce the closing of its latest financing round of €60 million, led by Shell Ventures and significantly supported by all existing investors. The investment enables sonnen to expand its strategy of rapid international growth and to further enhance its pioneering position as the “utility of the future.”

As a world leader in smart, residential solar storage solutions, sonnen will be able to leverage this financing to strengthen its lead and accelerate growth in markets such as the United States and Australia.

“Growing faster than the energy storage market and establishing new technologies such as energy sharing and our virtual battery pool requires continued investments. We’re very happy to receive the backing of all our investors and the commitment of a major global player like Shell to follow our vision of clean and affordable energy for everyone,” said Christoph Ostermann, CEO of sonnen.

Alongside the investment, sonnen and Shell’s New Energies division have launched a strategic cooperation agreement in areas that offer synergies between the two companies. This partnership will include innovative integrated energy propositions, enhanced EV charging solutions and the provision of grid services that are based on sonnen’s virtual battery pool.

“The great team at sonnen has succeeded in building a market-leading position in residential storage,” said Brian Davis, VP Energy Solutions at Shell. “This investment enables us to combine Shell’s power business activities with sonnen’s high quality, innovative products and business model to enhance our consumer energy offerings. This is in line with our strategy to partner with leading companies to deliver more and cleaner energy solutions to our customers.”


sonnen and ENGIE announce strategic partnership in France

_Haus_Waldfenster eco9.43 klein skv01_mb web.jpgsonnen has further expanded its international activities and entered the French market through a strategic partnership with the utility ENGIE.

ENGIE´s new PV + storage offer to its French customers – called “My Power” – will use the sonnenBatterie to enable households to cover up to 96% of its daily energy needs with self-generated power.

“We are very happy that one of Europe’s largest utilities shares our vision of clean and affordable energy. ENGIE is a company that not only talks about renewable energy but really pushes it forward. The French storage market is at the very beginning and therefore offers enormous potential. This shows that more and more people around the world want to take their energy future into their own hands and thus want to use our technology, ” says Christoph Ostermann, CEO of sonnen.

In France, around two-thirds of the population favour the installation of a solar PV system on their roof tops, and the the majority of them would like to use this electricity for themselves. For ENGIE this is a very promising market.

“We are expanding our product range with” My Power “, giving our customers the ability to store and use their own power, even when the sun is not shining. We are launching this service today, so I am very proud to announce our partnership with sonnen, using what we believe is the best storage solution on the market, “says Hervé Matthieu Ricour, Head of BtC France at ENGIE.

ENGIE, known as GDF SUEZ till 2015, is one of the largest European utilities, active in energy and services. It employs more than 150,000 people and has activities in around 70 countries. In 2017, the Group achieved an annual revenue of €65 billion. In France, ENGIE is the leading provider of green electricity (1.6 million customers) and supplies more than 11,6 million customers with energy (4 million with electricity and 7.6 million with gas).

In addition to sonnen’s important home market in Germany, the company is already represented in numerous European markets including Italy, the UK, the Scandinavian countries and Spain. In addition, sonnen is also active in the USA and Australia. Worldwide sonnen has sold more than 30,000 of its storage systems.

sonnen retains title of European market leader!

A recent analysis by EuPD Research shows that once again sonnen has held its position as the European market leader for residential battery storage.

Despite several new entrants entering the developing sector, sonnen was able to read the lead position with 21% market share followed by LG Chem and Varta.


Managing Director Sales and Marketing at sonnen, Philipp Schröder, commented: “Europe is by far the world’s largest storage market. We are therefore proud that, for the third consecutive year, we have been able to assert ourselves as a market leader in home storage against very good and well-known competitors such as LG, Tesla and Mercedes Benz Energy. This shows that our storage systems and energy services appeal to end customers throughout Europe and are thus a sure success for the installers.”