Germany’s sonnen, a developer of intelligent residential and commercial storage technology, has unveiled a new North American Innovation Center called the sonnen InnovationHub that will bundle all of the company’s U.S. production and R&D operations under one roof.
Located in Atlanta, Georgia, the facility is scheduled to begin producing sonnenBatterie products in the second quarter of this year. sonnen says that the decision to invest in a new, state-of-the-art manufacturing and product research hub was a reflection of the growing U.S. energy storage market.
“sonnen U.S. has experienced exponential sales growth over the past year, making the sonnen InnovationHub a smart investment to capitalize upon the immense potential of the North American energy storage market,” said sonnen Group CEO Christoph Ostermann. “We expect that linking our U.S. manufacturing and R&D teams in one facility will increase the rate of product innovation, and enable us to better adapt to the future needs of the high-growth U.S. residential energy storage market.”
The firm’s VP of sales for sonnen North America, Blake Richetta, added that interest in U.S. homeowners achieving energy independence is strong, and growing, with an increasing number of consumers eager to improve their energy consumption and efficiency.
sonnen has already installed more than 16,000 batteries globally, and thus is building a network of intelligently connected systems that can provide backup power and self-consumption to individual homes, as well as the creation of a virtual power plant that is aggregated across multiple systems.
It is this approach that is helping to pave the way for a second wave of interest in storage technology in the U.S., as it helps not only homeowners take one step off the grid, but also increases the resiliency of utilities’ grids as more and more variable power sources – such as solar – are added nationwide.
At the end of 2016 the U.S. had an estimated 140 MW of behind-the-meter storage capacity installed – a figure that is set to double over the course of 2017, IHS Markit senior research manager for solar and energy storage Sam Wilkinson told pv magazine.
sonnen added that the Atlanta facility will bring cleantech jobs to the U.S. Southeast, and complement the presence of the firm’s Los Angeles office. The news of the investment was welcomed by Costas Simoglou, director of the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Center of Innovation for Energy Technology.
“The sonnen InnovationHub is another success story that puts solar energy storage, a very critical part of the solar energy ecosystem, in the spotlight,” said Simoglou. “Our goal is to offer up the state’s economic development assets and provide the resources required to build an environment that puts Georgia at the forefront of the clean energy industry.”
Globally, sonnen’s sonnenBatterie smart energy management systems are currently manufactured in Germany, Atlanta and California.