German battery storage maker sonnen is offering Australian households “free energy” for two years if they have rooftop solar and use an approved installer for one of their battery storage devices.
The offering is being used to underline its partnership with global manufacturing firm Flex, which has exclusive distribution rights over sonnen batteries in Australia, and the creation of a “diamond list” of preferred installers it has put together to ensure its units are installed properly.
Previously, under the so-called “sonnenFlat” deal launched in July, households would pay nothing for energy but face a monthly fee of $30-$50. That monthly fee is now being waved – for 24 months – under the upgraded deal with Flex.
Chris Parratt, the head of sonnen in Australia (pictured above), says the creation of its “Diamond partners” list is to ensure that its technology is installed correctly. It follows a similar scheme in its home base of Germany.
Parratt says sonnen has so far installed around 750 units since it began in November, and has total sales in Australia of 1,600 in calendar 2017 – around three quarters of which have come since it launched sonnenFlat in July in Sydney.
“The Australian battery storage industry is really only in its second year in Australia and many installers are doing it for the first time. So our initiative is to try and control the quality of the rollout by defining approved companies.
Parratt says that once sonnen reached 500 installations in a state, it believes it will have enough capacity to draw on to play in the frequency control and ancillary services (FCAS) market and will be pushing AEMO to amend the rules to allow that to happen.
This would be done by using the software capability that creates a sort of “virtual power plant” that can harness the unused capacity of the battery storage installations and provide grid services.
Sonnen has 30,000 installations in Germany and is already a major player in that country’s FCAS market.
The list of partners includes Cool or Cosy (South Australia); Halcol Energy and SAE Group (Queensland); Energy Matters (Victoria) and G Store (Victoria). Partners in NSW and WA are expected to be announced soon.
Giles Parkinson is a journalist of 30 years experience, a former Business Editor and Deputy Editor of the Financial Review, a columnist for The Bulletin magazine and The Australian, and the former editor of Climate Spectator.