Sonnen announces partnerships for a more full energy storage offering


Not content with being the leader in the German energy storage market, Sonnen (formerly Sonnenbatterie) is now taking on the U.S. market. Roughly a month after the roll-out of its plug-and-play battery storage system for the U.S. market, the company has revealed key partnerships and opened a U.S. headquarters in Los Angeles.

Today Sonnen announced partnerships with roofing and solar provider PetersenDean, PV module maker SolarWorld, and clean energy finance company Spruce Finance. Each of these offers specific advantages.

SolarWorld and PetersenDean both have a strong presence in the United States. Despite being a Germany company, SolarWorld has the largest PV module manufacturing capacity in the United States. SolarWorld is also the biggest PV module supplier to PetersenDean.

PetersenDean, in turn, claims the largest market share of any residential company in the United States, which gave it an immediate advantage when it opened a solar division a few years ago. The company was the 8th-largest residential solar installer in the United States in 2015, with around 10,000 PV systems installed.

“They are one of the preferred installers for some of the largest homebuilders in the United States,” Sonnen USA CEO Boris von Bormann told pv magazine. “It is a relationship that gives us additional access to the market.”

But it is the partnership with Spruce Finance, which was formed in the recent merger of Clean Power Finance and Kilowatt Financial, which may offer the greatest technical benefit. Spruce will be offering a battery storage financing solution to homeowners, which includes options with or without solar PV.

This could make the combination of solar and energy storage product much more attractive. “We offer a very easy way for customers to see the obvious benefits of solar plus energy storage,” Spruce CEO Nat Kreamer told pv magazine.

Spruce currently offers financing for solar PV in 18 states, and says that it expects to roll out its finance product for battery storage in all of these markets in the next two months.

Kreamer sees energy storage as part of larger trends. “In a lot of ways, we at Spruce have been thinking and writing and educating for transformation of the electric power industry, and clearly storage is clearly an important part of that,” says Kreamer.

These partnerships were announced the same day that Sonnen opened its new U.S. headquarters in North Hollywood, California. This company already has a research and development center in Atlanta, Georgia, as well as manufacturing in San Jose and 30 service centers.

Sonnen says that it already has 1,000 of its eco battery systems under contract in the United States, and expects to sell 2,500 to 3,000 in the first half of 2016. Over the course of the year, it plans to increase the number of its service centers to 100, to serve all U.S. states.