Editor’s Note: A&R Solar continues to monitor the evolving battery storage market. In addition to waiting for the Tesla Powerwall to become available to installers in the Pacific Northwest, we are also researching other companies that offer similar systems.
While the Tesla Powerwall dominates in the media, a competitor is quietly gaining ground in the U.S. storage market.
Sonnen, a Germany company with corporate headquarters in Los Angeles, has completed more than 12,000 installs of its storage systems and has more than 50 percent of Germany’s storage market. Tesla is in the early stages of rolling out the Powerwall, and and there is no word as to when units will start shipping to the Northwest.
But beyond experience, there are two major differences between these two lithium-ion storage systems: Sonnen comes with a power inverter built-in while the Powerwall requires you to purchase a separate inverter. (Storage systems require inverters separate from your solar inverter.) Sonnen also offers a 10-year, 10,000-cycle warranty, while the Powerwall’s warranty is, well, a little complicated right now.
Storage systems are still gaining traction in the United States but are becoming increasingly popular as energy prices increase and the technology becomes more affordable. Many of the systems are stackable, allowing homeowners to increase capacity over time.
The most popular reason to invest in storage in the Northwest is to keep your family powered during outages. Because it recharges automatically during the day, storage is perfect for extended power outages.
Unlike generators, battery storage qualifies for the Federal Income Tax Credit as long as 75 percent or more of the energy it stores come from your solar energy system. While Washington and Oregon don’t have time-of-use surcharges (electricity prices increase at peak usage times), some industry experts believe that changes could be on the horizon. Having battery storage protects you from those rate spikes by allowing you to draw energy from your storage system during peak hours.
To receive the federal tax benefits, your home must be connected to the grid, even though Sonnen’s Eco system has off-grid capabilities.
Sonnen has won several awards, including Greentech Media’s 2016 Grid Edge Award for innovation, and Cleantech’s 2015 Company of the Year Award in both Israel and Europe. Its parent company has been in business for more than a century.
To learn more about Sonnen and other solar storage options, or to get a quote for adding a storage system to your existing solar PV system, please reach us at (206) 707-9937 or (503) 420-8680.