sonnen launches battery-driven plan to take retailers ‘out of business’

German battery storage developer sonen has described this month’s near 20 per cent jump in the cost of grid power around Australia as “perfect” timing for the rollout of its new battery storage retail power plan.

“It was perfect. We said: ‘Thankyou very much’,” sonnen CEO Christoph Ostermann told journalists at the launch of the sonnenFlat offering in Sydney on Wednesday night.

sonnenFlat, says Ostermann, aims to take Australia’s energy utilities “out of business” by replicating the sort of deal consumers can get from a mobile phone company, and with a quick pay-back.

“That’s our goal, to take the traditional utility out of business. What we do is provide grid power for free.”

The deal means that a household with at least 5kW of solar can buy one of sonnen’s battery storage systems – an average sized system might cost around $15,000 – and then be provided with all their electricity needs for a flat rate of $30, $40, or $50 a month, depending on the size of their solar system, storage and daily usage.

An average house will be able to consume around 10,000kWh a year, or nearly 30kWh a day, and cut its annual bill of around $3,400 to just $480 a year. The product is also designed to take the hassle and confusion out of  solar and storage, for the consumer.

Read Solar Choice’s analysis of the sonnenFlat package here

It merges, into one product, the various new concepts such as peer-to-peer trading and virtual power plants, allowing users to sell excess power to each other, or to Sonnen, who then package it up and use it to trade in the wholesale and other markets, such as ancilliary services.

Ostermann says the market is ripe for the picking, particularly the existing fleet of rooftop solar. If one quarter of the 1.6 million households signed up for his deal, then that would equate to a virtual power plant of 1.4GW – nearly the size of the Hazelwood power generator that closed down earlier this year.

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Giles Parkinson