German solar storage company Sonnen has joined the ranks of other solar battery retailers in Australia with the introduction of the sonnenBatterie, which was released in recent years. Since then, this solar storage system has dropped onto the radars of switched on Aussies looking to make better use of their solar panels, taking their independence from the energy grid to another level. But what makes the sonnenBatterie system different? And is it really worth the hefty upfront investment? Canstar Blue reviews the sonnenBatterie, so you can feel confident that you’re making the right call when choosing a solar storage system for your home.
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Making its way onto Australian shores in 2016, the sonnenBatterie Eco has become one of Australia’s leading solar battery storage systems, holding a market share that’s not too far off the likes of the Tesla Powerwall. According to Sonnen, the sonnenBatterie is designed to allow customers to cover about 80% of their annual energy requirement with self-produced and clean energy.
Sonnen batteries come in a range of different sizes, from 5kWh to 15kWh. If you’re looking to expand your system, the Sonnen website claims that this is easy, with sizes increasing in blocks of 2.5kWh.
The sonnenBatterie Eco, like other solar batteries, works by storing the power your solar panels have produced during the day for you to use at night. But what makes this storage system unique is its in-built smart management system to help you optimise your battery for longevity.
Not only that, but those with a sonnenBatterie also become part of the sonnenCommunity where solar generated energy is shared amongst households in a bid to reduce their collective reliance on the grid.
The latest model (sonnenBatterie Eco 9.43) has a usable capacity of about 90% of the listed storage size, an output of between 2.5kW and 3.3kW, and a 20-year lifespan. Other notable features include its lithium iron phosphate cell technology and 10-year or 10,000 charge cycles conditional warranty. The battery itself has everything included, including an inverter, so you’re ready to connect upon purchase.
SonnenBatterie Eco Specs
|Nominal battery capacity||10kWh|
|Depth of discharge (usable capacity)||90%|
|Cell technology||Lithium Iron Phosphate|
|Weight in kg (Cabinet option 2)||143kg|
|Dimensions (H/W/D) in cm||137/67/23|
|Max battery efficiency||98%|
|Ambient temperature range||-5°C to 45°C|
|Dust and water protection||IP30|
|Operating mode||Single phase|
|Battery service life||20 years|
|Warranty||10 years or 10,000 cycles|
This data is based on the specifications of the sonnenBatterie Eco 9.43/10.
sonnenBatterie Eco Price
The price of the battery system will depend on the specific size you choose, where you live and your choice of installer. As a rough guide, Sonnen batteries start from about $9,000 for the smallest size without installation costs factored in, and span to more than $15,000 for a 14kWh system.
Solar battery storage systems aren’t cheap. The reality is that if you’re in market for a battery, you’re going to be forking out a decent amount of cash for it. That said, there are systems that are more expensive, and systems that are less expensive. The easiest way to get an accurate price specific to your household is to contact a certified sonnen installer.
Customers who purchase a solar battery with Sonnen have optional access to the sonnenCommunity power network when they sign up to sonnenFlat. Sonnen connects its solar customers with a larger community that shares the clean energy they generate with each other. Joining sonnenFlat gives Sonnen control of your storage system as it becomes part of a virtual power plant, whereby electricity can be exported from your battery pack and regenerated as necessary.
Signing up means you’ll agree to pay a monthly charge (as listed below) in exchange for not receiving power bills from another retailer, given you don’t go over your annual allowance. It’s worth mentioning that the prices shown below may vary depending on where you are and your household’s needs, so they should be used as a general guide rather than an exact figure.
SonnenFlat is available in NSW, QLD, ACT and TAS, and has just recently entered the Victorian market. While the program may seem too good to be true for those with a Sonnen battery, it’s important to keep in mind whether it’ll be worth it when stacked up against possible earnings from receiving a feed-in tariff.
Should I invest in a sonnenBatterie?
While there certainly are benefits of owning a sonnenBatterie, purchasing this storage system will ultimately come down to your personal circumstances, and whether you can calculate a return on your investment. Solar batteries aim to reduce your reliance on the grid by allowing you to utilise the energy you would have otherwise fed into the grid during peak sunlight hours.
The sonnenBatterie is no different. You’ll save money on your electricity bills simply by not buying as much power from the grid. But whether those savings will make up for the upfront investment in a reasonable timeframe will depend on many factors such as the size of your panels and storage system, not to mention your energy usage requirements, so it’s best to crunch the numbers before making any costly decisions.
That said, the sonnenBatterie is certainly advanced as far as solar battery technology is concerned, and whether you’re after a system that allows you control over where your battery power is funneled into, or you’re simply looking for a way to reduce your carbon footprint, the sonnenBatterie can deliver that.
If you’re sitting on the fence, or not really interested in a battery system, it might be worth having a look at the solar feed-in tariffs and providers available in your area.
Image credits: sonnen.com, Roschetzky Photography