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sonnen GmbH | May 17, 2023

Smart meter roll-out: sonnen and Solandeo expand energy partnership and advance digitalisation of the energy transition

sonnen is accelerating its ongoing smart meter roll-out and expanding its energy partnership with the competitive metering point operator Solandeo from Berlin to further advance the digitalisation of the energy transition and make the benefits of the future energy system accessible to households today.

WILDPOLDSRIED/BERLIN, 16 May, 2023 – A key element for a successful energy transition is the digital interconnection of producers and consumers. Shell subsidiary sonnen, one of the global innovation leaders in energy storage and networking technologies, has been consistently implementing this strategy for many years. Another step is the continued cooperation with the leading independent metering point operator Solandeo: thanks to this collaboration, sonnen will be able to further accelerate its ongoing nationwide smart meter roll-out. Specifically, sonnen and Solandeo intend to install at least another 10,000 smart meters (iMSys), also called smart meters, in the sonnenCommunity. 

The Digitalisation of the Energy Transition 

According to the Monitoring report 2022 by the Federal Network Agency, only about 4,000 out of almost 2 million generating units with a capacity of less than 30 kWp had a smart measuring system within the meaning of the Metering Point Operation Act in 2021. This means that the feed-in of almost all small German plants is only estimated. By now, however, nearly 50 % of our energy comes from renewable, but also unstable sources. Therefore, the energy transition requires smart energy management. And smart means digital. 

Therefore, sonnen already began rolling out smart measuring systems in 2016. By basing its entire system design on the principle of “Digital by Design” from the start, the company was able to actively integrate its customers’ home energy storage solutions into the German electricity market early on with smart meters, and make them fit for the energy system of the future. This continuous roll-out in the sonnenCommunity is to be gradually accelerated through energy partnerships, such as the long-standing cooperation with Solandeo: 

“Our goal is to awaken consumers from their long analogue slumber of the last few decades and integrate them as equal participants into the energy market. Smart meters are a basic requirement for the success of the energy transition, as energy generation and consumption must be coordinated. This opens up economic advantages to our customers that go beyond the classic benefits of EEG reallocation or private consumption to which they had no access before. Solandeo is a leading, nationally active partner for digital metering solutions who shares our vision and has been pursuing this path with us for many years”, says Oliver Koch, CEO of sonnen. 

Households in the sonnenCommunity can already benefit from the advantages of the energy market, such as the direct marketing of their solar power or participation in sonnen's virtual power plant. As part of this virtual large energy storage system, they can help stabilise the power grid and share their power bilaterally. sonnen covers the costs of installing and operating the necessary smart meters as part of the sonnenFlat electricity contract. The prerequisite for this is a PV system and a sonnenBatterie. 

In combination with smart meters, households can earn several hundred euros more per year than in the classic combination of self-consumption and EEG remuneration. 

Friedrich Rojahn, Managing Director and CEO of Solandeo: “sonnen is a pioneer in digital energy services, which makes them the perfect partner for us. Applications based on smart meters are already a reality rather than just dreams of the future at sonnen. But most households are still a black box for the energy system today, so they cannot play an active role in the energy system. Only smart meters put them in this position and make the difference as to whether people's behaviour has an impact on the energy system or not. They are the key to flexible electricity tariffs, neighbourhood electricity trading, and virtual power plants.” 

The power plant of the future is a network

After the smart meter roll-out in Germany was stagnant for many years, there is now a promising perspective with the German Act on the Digitisation of the Energy Transition (GNDEW): This act is intended to enable an agile roll-out and provides for gradual mandatory installation in most households from 2025 going forward. 

With the virtual power plant, the bilaterally shared power, or the direct marketing of solar power from households, sonnen has established services that are made possible by smart meter technology. But even with these applications, sonnen is only just beginning to tap into all the future possibilities that will be facilitated by networking or virtual power plants. In February, for example, sonnen began integrating electric cars into its virtual power plant together with transmission system operator Tennet, thereby stabilising the power grid.