Sonnen starts shipping batteries made in South Australia to New Zealand

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Delivering on its plan to expand its market reach in the Asia-Pacific region, German storage specialist sonnen has announced batteries produced in its manufacturing plant in South Australia will be exported to New Zealand starting from today. The sonnenBatterie hybrid, which will be available exclusively through Auckland-based Taspac Energy, is a fully-integrated energy storage system that includes a solar inverter.

The product includes two new features: sonnenProtect, which isolates a storage system during a mains power blackout so households can get backup power for essential power circuits, and Black Start, a new feature that allows homeowners to recharge their batteries with energy produced by their solar panels without a grid connection.“The features in our new sonnenBatterie hybrid means customers can be assured their energy supply is uninterrupted in an event of a natural disaster or should their homes be located in an area where the grid is less resilient,” said Nathan Dunn, CEO of sonnen Asia Pacific.

Sonnen took its battery technology to the factory floor at the former Holden car manufacturing site in Adelaide in late November. Since then, it has hired more than 50 full-time employees in production, warehousing, shipping, the call centre and technical service. All of its production employees are former Holden workers.

“Holden has been recognised for its heritage in producing cars in Australia for many years. With its departure, sonnen has now revitalised manufacturing by making cleantech manufacturing the new engine of growth,” Dunn said. “Not only does this support South Australia, it also benefits the Trans-Tasman region as sonnen is now reducing the lead time it takes to bring batteries to our customers in New Zealand.”

The German manufacturer confirmed it was setting up the Adelaide production facility a day after the South Australian government launched it landmark $100 million  Home Battery Scheme. Sonnen was the first battery manufacturer to join the program which offers subsidies to SA households of up to $6,000 scaled in line with the size of the system being installed. It was followed by China-headquartered Alpha-ESS and Canada’s Eguana Technologies, both of which unveiled plans to set up manufacturing facilities in Adelaide to tap the state’s booming market.

At its Adelaide plant, sonnen aims to produce 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. The manufacturer’s expansion to New Zealand follows its takeover by Shell and plans to extend its market reach with the oil giant’s support.

“We see significant growth opportunities for sonnen in New Zealand,” Dwayne Cocker, Director and General Manager of Taspac Energy, said. “In recent years, Taspac Energy has seen an organic growth in the demand for home batteries with more households looking for independence from their energy retailers.”

According to the Sustainable Energy Association New Zealand, one PV system is installed in the country every 25 minutes. Around 30% of New Zealand households with a solar system have battery storage up from 24% in 2017 and 16% in 2016.