Due to the strong increase in demand for innovative home energy storage systems “made in Germany”, sonnen is expanding production at its headquarters in Wildpoldsried. However, sonnen's intelligent batteries are not only storage devices, but can also be interconnected in a network to form virtual power plants. The expansion of this key technology secures important technological competencies for Germany as an industrial location.
WILDPOLDSRIED, 25 May, 2023 – The expansion of production makes it possible for sonnen to double its current production output. The company will thus reach the next expansion stage of its production capacity of 120,000 energy storage systems per year at its headquarters in Wildpoldsried significantly earlier than originally planned.
With this step, sonnen is responding to the surge in demand for smart and digitally interconnected sonnenBatteries, which has increased greatly in the course of the past year and continues to be high. According to the industry association BSW Solar, 214,000 new home energy storage systems were installed in Germany in 2022.
Overall, sonnen has grown from about 800 to 1,500 employees since the beginning of 2022, 450 of whom are based in Wildpoldsried. In addition to expanding production, the company has also opened a new training centre and expanded its on-site development capacities. This makes sonnen's headquarters in the energy village of Wildpoldsried one of the largest providers of home energy storage systems in Europe.
“Last year, we experienced an unprecedented increase in demand which we were unable to fully meet, even though we had just put our production hall into service in 2021. And while the demand for home energy storage is now returning to normal, it remains at a high level. By bringing forward the next expansion stage of our production capacities, we will reliably meet this demand, which comes from many markets. With our virtual power plant technology, we are expanding value creation beyond storage, securing critical know-how for the digital energy transition in Germany as an industrial and technology location”, says Oliver Koch, CEO of sonnen.
While the continuous expansion of renewable energy sources and storage systems is driving the energy transition forward, it is also creating new challenges, such as bottlenecks in the power grids. As the first, and as yet only, provider in Germany, sonnen is therefore interconnecting the home energy storage systems of its customers in a network to form virtual power plants that are active, among other things, in the operating reserve market for FCR (Frequency Containment Reserve), balancing supply and demand in the power grid. Until now, this has mainly been the responsibility of conventional power plants or large-scale storage facilities rather than private households.
This is a key technology for the decentralised energy system of the future, in which more and more PV systems, energy storage units, e-cars, and heat pumps are pushing into the power grids. Therefore, sonnen has also begun to install electric cars in its virtual power plants as well, turning the latter from mere energy storage units for private consumption into active and smart elements of the energy system itself. For the participating households, this results in new revenue opportunities that go beyond the classic benefits of EEG reallocation and private consumption.
By interconnecting the units in a network, many of the problems of the previous, analogue energy transition can be addressed. For example, it is possible to manage supply and demand digitally in such a way that power grids are not overloaded, even if the spread of PV systems, e-cars, or heat pumps continues to pick up the pace.