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sonnen GmbH | June 1, 2023

sonnen launches heat pump networks for clean heating and stable power grids

How can millions of heat pumps be safely and easily integrated into our power grid while reducing the workload of installers? sonnen responds with a new cross-manufacturer software solution for the easy and safe interconnection of heat pumps in networks in the home and with the power grid. The first partner for the Europe-wide cooperation is heat pump manufacturer NIBE. Further partnerships are planned.

WILDPOLDSRIED, 1 June, 2023 – Heat pumps are a critical success factor for the heat transition and facilitate the switch to climate-friendly heating. They are able to adapt to the fluctuating energy production from solar and wind power. The prerequisite for this is that the heat pump is intelligently integrated into the household's energy supply in a way that serves the grid. 

The first product from Shell subsidiary sonnen for this purpose will already become available this year. This will make the company’s sonnenBatterie even smarter: apart from controlling the PV system, battery, and the charging of the e-vehicle, it will also control the heat pump via software in the future. No more additional hardware is required. This integration takes the complexity out of interconnecting heat pumps with PV systems and energy storage units, which can then be done at the click of a mouse. The resources of many specialsed companies are limited, and the smart installation of heat pumps can be accelerated and simplified that way. And if the technical prerequisites are met, it can also be done with existing systems.

“The installation of millions of heat pumps throughout Europe supports a successful energy transition, but only if they are powered by clean electricity and behave intelligently. Then the heat pump is the perfect technology for the fluctuating supply in a world relying on renewable energy”, says Oliver Koch, CEO of sonnen. “The decentralised energy system of the future thrives on the interconnectedness of all producers, consumers, and energy storage units. For us, a heat pump is not just a heater, but another building block of the energy transition to be activated, making our power grids future-proof and clean energy affordable for everyone.”

Smart networks in the home

For sonnen, smart behaviour means that the heat pump uses surplus solar power directly from the house’s own roof or from the sonnenBatterie to heat up for hot water and heating. This significantly reduces energy costs and CO2 emissions, too. In addition, customers of the sonnenCommunity also reduce the load on the power grid, since less or no power must be drawn from the grid for heating. If the customer's own electricity is not sufficient, green electricity will be purchased from the sonnenCommunity. In summer, the house can even be cooled efficiently using the heat pump and solar power, often eliminating the need for additional air conditioning.

“Heat pumps can do much more than classic heating. Through the smart interconnection of power generation and consumption, customers get maximum comfort at low cost and with minimal impact on our environment. Intelligent S-Series heat pumps are well-equipped for both today’s and tomorrow’s tasks. We are implementing this in exemplary fashion with our partner sonnen”, says Klaus Ackermann, Managing Director, NIBE Systemtechnik GmbH.

Heat pumps as an active and stabilising part of the energy system

The integration is designed so that the heat pumps can be controlled as part of sonnen’s virtual power plant together with e-cars and sonnenBatteries in a network. In this smart network, the heat pumps can be activated specifically whenever the supply on the electricity market exceeds consumption. That way, they stabilise the power grid by smoothing out generation and consumption peaks. 

In sonnen’s virtual power plant, heat pumps may also support the provision of operating reserve in the future, if required over longer periods of time, thus generating additional income for the household, as sonnen already does with battery storage. The prerequisite is a smart electricity contract from sonnen, such as sonnenFlat or sonnenFlat direct.