German battery giant sonnen has won key backing from global oil major Shell, after the latter’s venture capital arm Shell Ventures led a $A95 million fund raising round for the battery maker.
Sonnen said on Wednesday that it had closed the successful financing round of €60 million, the proceeds of which would go towards expanding the company’s strategy of rapid international growth and to further enhance its pioneering position as the “utility of the future”.
This expansion includes in Australia, where it is involved in several virtual power plant projects and has also proposed a battery manufacturing facility in Adelaide.
And the tie up will also involve linking sonnen’s smart batteries with new EV-charging infrastructure that is also being developed by Shell’s Venture, and is yet another significant indicator of the changing landscape of the energy industry.
“The great team at sonnen has succeeded in building a market-leading position in residential storage,” said Brian Davis, VP Energy Solutions at Shell, in a statement on Wednesday.
“This investment enables us to combine Shell’s power business activities with sonnen’s high quality, innovative products and business model to enhance our consumer energy offerings,” he said.
“This is in line with our strategy to partner with leading companies to deliver more and cleaner energy solutions to our customers.”
Sonnen, meanwhile, said it would also use the new finance to strengthen its lead and accelerate growth in key markets, including Australia.
Just last month, the company landed its biggest battery order to date in Australia, to supply a new housing development in Victoria with 270 sonnen residential batteries.
That deal is part of a project that aims to cut household power bills by 60 per cent, and to help power a water treatment plant that is expected to cut water consumption by 70 per cent.
Sonnen is also in the process of establishing a local manufacturing plant in Australia, almost definitely in Adelaide, although that has not been set in concrete since the change of government in that state in March.
In February, the company said it intended to manufacture 50,000 battery storage units in Adelaide over the next five years.
An Adelaide plant would also be sonnen’s central shipping facility for the Asia and South Pacific region, and would create 130 jobs, growing to 190 within 5 years, the company said.