SMA launches Tesla-compatible home storage inverter to capitalize on high demand potential

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Germany-based SMA has announced the launch of the Sunny Boy Storage inverter for end users. It is said to be the first AC-coupled system for high voltage batteries, like the Tesla Powerwall. The system is scheduled for release in Germany this March, with roll out to other key markets – Italy, the U.K., Australia and the U.S. – expected after.

SMA believes the combination of a battery system with its new inverter product will allow consumers to store electricity at costs "comparable to German household electricity rates." Furthermore, the AC-coupling means it can be easily added to existing solar PV installations, since it is not necessary to touch the system; and it can be adapted to individual needs even after installation.

The leading solar PV inverter manufacturer is hoping to capitalize on a growing battery storage system market. It estimates the market for storage applications, as a whole, is worth between €0.5 billion to €1.2 billion in the medium term, while there is potential for storage on nearly 900,000 existing PV installations under 10 kWp in Germany, where subsidies will eventually end. To date, it says, 30,000 battery systems have been installed in Germany.

A spokesperson at EuPD Research told pv magazine back in November that between 15,000 and 16,000 solar+storage systems will be installed in Germany in 2015, up from around 9,000 in 2014, and around 5,000 in 2013. Figures from the RWTH Aachen University published last week, however, place the number at 20,000 privately owned stationary storage systems installed last year.

Concluding, SMA CEO, Pierre-Pascal Urbon said, "To a great extent, demand will depend on the decline in prices of stationary storage systems, which currently make up more than 75% of investment costs for the storage solution … To ensure maximum long-term reliability and flexibility for end users, SMA is collaborating with almost all well-known battery producers."

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