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A Review of Sonnen Batteries

Solarkobo Score: 4.2/5

Manufacturer's Profile

Sonnen is a German leading lithium battery system manufacturer and the largest residential battery company in Europe. Founded in 2010 by Christoph Ostermann and Torsten Stiefenhofer in the picturesque German village of Wildpoldsried as PROSOL Invest Deutschland GmbH, the company now operating as sonnen has quickly become one of the most respected names in the energy storage industry.


In an exemplary demonstration of their commitment, Sonnen has transformed their own home base, Wildpoldsried, into a shining example of sustainable living. This idyllic village now operates entirely on renewable energy, a feat made possible by Sonnen's innovative energy storage solutions. With local manufacturing and assembling plants in California and South Australia, Sonnen has expanded into the US and Australian markets.


Sonnen sold their first battery in 2011 and was honoured by MIT in 2016 as one of the 50 Smartest Companies 2016 worldwide. In 2015, at the Cleantech Forum in San Francisco, United States, out of 6,900 candidates, Sonnen was inducted into the Global Cleantech 100 list for the year. The panel of judges recognized it one of the most innovative companies in the category of Europe & Israel.


In 2019, Shell completed the acquisition of Sonnen at €500 million ($536.8 million) further bolstering the company's global presence and resources. In September, 2023, however, it was reported that Shell had put the company up for sale.

SonnenCore+ Source: Sonnen
SonnenCore+ Source: Sonnen

General Features

Technology

Sonnen batteries use lithium iron phosphate (LFP) cells, which are known for their safety, longevity, and durability. LFP cells are also less susceptible to thermal runaway, making them a safer choice for home and commercial use.


Modular and Lightweight Design

Sonnen batteries have a modular design, which allows them to be easily installed and scaled up or down as needed. They are also compact and lightweight, making them ideal for a variety of applications.


Long Life Cycle

Sonnen batteries have a long life cycle of 10 years or 10,000 charge/discharge cycles to 80% retained capacity. This means that you can expect your Sonnen battery to last for many years, even with heavy use.


Battery Monitoring System

Sonnen batteries come with a built-in battery monitoring system that allows users to track their battery's performance and health in real time. This system also provides users with alerts if any problems are detected.


Maintenance-Free

Sonnen batteries are maintenance-free meaning that they do not require any maintenance checks during their entire lifespan. Their design eliminate worries about constant maintenance and the attending costs and potential hazards.


100% Depth of Discharge

Sonnen batteries allow up to 100% depth of discharge.


IP56 Rated

Sonnen batteries have an Ingress Protection rating of 56. This means they can be installed in a semi-outdoor location such as a verandah or carport, though they are not to be exposed to direct sunlight.


Types of Sonnen Batteries

Sonnen ecoLinx

The sonnen ecoLinx is Sonnen's most advanced battery and is designed for homeowners who want the best possible performance and features. It has a capacity of 11.6 kWh and comes with a number of advanced features, such as integrated solar panels, a weather station, and a battery management system. It is also the most expensive of Sonnen's batteries.

The ecoLinx™. Source: Sonnen
The ecoLinx™. Source: Sonnen
SonnenCore+

The SonnenCore comes in two sizes: 10 kWh and 20 kWh and is covered by a 10-year warranty. The two models allow up to a 100% depth of discharge.


Replacing the ECO which was launched in 2016, the EVO series is designed for retrofitting to existing solar systems, while the Hybrid series is an all-in-one system that includes a solar inverter and battery.


Sonnen EVO
  • Capacity: 11 kWh (10 kWh usable)

  • Power Output: 5.0 kW continuous, 7 kW peak (surge)

  • Application: Retrofit option for homes with existing solar installations


The Sonnen EVO matches the Tesla Powerwall 2, serving as an AC battery with an integrated power inverter. Its robust power rating and usability make it an ideal choice for homes with pre-existing solar systems seeking backup power. It is a fully-coupled AC battery that requires an additional solar inverter to function with a solar array. It is compatible with all brands of solar inverters.

The SonnenEVO
The SonnenEVO
Sonnen Hybrid

It represents an all-in-one solution, incorporates a solar inverter, charger, and battery within a single unit. It offers a comprehensive energy storage solution for residential and commercial buildings, with the potential for parallel expansion up to 45 kWh. It is DC-coupled allowing it to be connected to the grid without the need for an additional inverter.

The Sonnen hybrid 9.53
The Sonnen hybrid 9.53. Source: Sonnen

While it is versatile and efficient, it does not inherently function as a backup power supply or UPS. To enable backup power during blackouts or grid failures, an external Backup box must be added to the system. This Backup box provides limited continuous power output (1.8 kW) and a maximum surge rating of 4.1 kW for 2 seconds. It is suitable for backing up essential loads like lights, computers, and refrigerators but may not support larger appliances or air-conditioning systems.


For individuals seeking off-grid capabilities, it's worth noting that Sonnen's systems are not designed for dedicated off-grid power. Moreover, Sonnen's hybrid models maintain a continuous power output rating of 3.3 kW, with a maximum peak output also rated at 3.3 kW. For most households, this power capacity is more than sufficient. However, heavy power users, particularly those with high-power appliances like electric car chargers or multiple air conditioners, may need to assess their specific requirements.


SonnenProtect

Sonnen has recognized the need for more robust backup power solutions and plans to introduce the SonnenProtect, offering up to 2.5 kW of continuous output. While this represents an improvement over the Backup box, it is essential to note that the SonnenProtect cannot charge from solar during a blackout.


Warranty

Sonnen batteries comes with an impressive 10-year warranty, covering 10,000 charge/discharge cycles with an 80% retained capacity guarantee. This warranty covers defects and faults in the battery, as well as software updates. This extended warranty period underscores the reliability of Sonnen's batteries and their robust monitoring and balancing mechanisms. However, it's essential to note that the battery must be connected to the internet to receive software updates, as stipulated in the warranty.


Conclusion

In conclusion, Sonnen batteries represent a premium offering in the energy storage market, manufactured by one of the world's largest and most experienced battery manufacturers. While they may come at a premium price and have smaller output power than their counterpart systems, the Sonnen systems using high-quality Sony cells are engineered to outperform and outlast many other battery systems. Their modular design, long cycle life, and advanced battery management system make them a top-tier choice for reliable and efficient energy storage solutions.


While the Sonnen battery Hybrid or EVO offers an excellent choice for enhancing energy independence and efficiency, in practice, users often put their budget and their power needs first. In this case, SolarKobo can recommend cheaper and more practical options. Regardless, with its advanced technology and exceptional durability Sonnen compares very favourably to the crème de la crème of ESS, Tesla Powerwall. They represent a compelling choice for those seeking cutting-edge energy storage solutions.

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