Shell moves to acquire German storage business Sonnen

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From pv magazine Germany.

Almost nine months after investing in storage company sonnen, oil major Shell wants to take over the German business.

The German competition authority’s approval for the transaction is pending and sonnen said it believes approval will be granted next month.

The companies agreed not to disclose details of the agreement, as sonnen founder and CEO Christoph Ostermann told pv magazine. He did, however, confirm all shares held by sonnen investors will transfer to Shell New Energy and added the sonnen brand will be retained.

Ostermann said no management changes were planned as part of the acquisition and said Shell’s interest in his company was a reaffirmation of the good work it has done in recent years, adding: “It is always nice when such work is recognized.”

The sonnen CEO said Shell New Energies would be a “perfect strategic partner” to help his company expand in a dynamic market. “Especially with regards to the internationalization of our business and up-scaling of our production, Shell will be a strong partner to have our back, that allows us to operate swiftly,” Ostermann said.

Global expansion

In recent months, sonnen has positioned itself well in the U.S. and Australia and Ostermann said expansion into Africa, Latin America and Asia would interest the company.

Shell offers a global presence and had supported sonnen in auditing battery cell manufacturing. Purchasing conditions for battery cells would also be expected to improve for sonnen with a strong partner such as Shell.

Competition in the residential storage market has increased globally. Sonnen competes with big brands including BYD and LG, said Ostermann, and continuing to do so would only be possible with a financially strong partner. Shell’s subsidiaries also offer opportunities for new business and markets, said the sonnen founder, citing charging infrastructure as an example.

After Shell’s entry as an investor, both parties closed ranks to find they were pursuing similar visions. Shell has increased its efforts in renewable energy and unlocked more capital in the sector. The historic Anglo-Dutch company will include sonnen’s products in its portfolio and market them with immediate effect.

Australian business

Late last year, the German energy storage provider began assembling batteries at the former Holden site at Elizabeth in Adelaide’s north. It targets a production of  10,000 batteries a year over the next five years to meet demand from Australian households, as well as for export to the Asia Pacific region.

sonnen’s role in supplying Australian customers was pointed out earlier this week by Shell Australia Chair Zoe Yujnovich, noting that it had already supplied 3,000 battery systems to Australian households, “and had plans for growing their business here.”

In her speech at a Melbourne Mining Club event, Yujnovich revealed Shell Australia had “well advanced” plans for a 120 MW utility scale PV array to supply its QGC onshore gas operations in northern Queensland.

Localized by Marija Maisch

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