Sonnen bests Tesla's Powerwall in Q1 battery sales

The battery storage sector may finally have the competitive impetus that many in the industry had been waiting for, with Germany’s Sonnen (formerly Sonnenbatterie) confirming that it has sold 2,600 of its batteries in the first quarter of the year – which is 100 more than the number of Tesla Powerwalls sold during the same period.

In an interview with pv magazine, Sonnen CSO Philipp Schröder said that the company had "sold 2,600 PV battery storage units in the first three months of 2016, and thus more than half of our previous [year’s] sales have been achieved."

Last year, the Germany-based manufacturer shifted 4,000 of its Sonnen batteries globally, making Q1’s performance so far rather encouraging. In contrast, U.S. firm Tesla recently published data showing that it had sold 2,500 Powerwalls in the first quarter of the year.

For Sonnen, serial production of the company’s new Eco battery began in April this year, and this new model accounted for 50% of Q1’s recorded deliveries, Schröder confirmed.

In its domestic German market, Sonnen has a dominant 75% share of the storage sector, and for the year to date has recorded notable success in two other mature residential solar markets – the U.S. and Italy.

More than 400 unit deliveries have been recorded in Italy so far this year, Schröder said, with 300 orders shipped in March alone, while sales in the U.S. are into the "triple digits", the CSO added. "These foreign markets have an upwards trend," said Schröder, who reaffirmed Sonnen’s goal to double revenue in 2016 year-over-year.

In 2015, Sonnen recorded a turnover close to €30 million ($34 million), and as system costs continue to fall, the company is confident that it can grow its sales figures by around 200%. Putting an exact revenue amount on that growth would be difficult, Schröder concluded, because its battery systems sell at different prices in different markets.

In February, Sonnen hit the 10,000 shipment milestone for its home battery system globally, and hopes to sell around 3,500 units in the U.S. market this year.

Edited and translated by Ian Clover.