Shell buys in to fund battery company sonnen’s Australian expansion

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Sonnen closes $95m financing round led by Shell Ventures, which will help fund expansion in Australia, and closer ties on EV charging and virtual power plants.

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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.

Sophie Vorrath

Sophie is editor of OneStepOffTheGrid.com.au and deputy editor of its sister site, RenewEconomy.com.au. Sophie has been writing about clean energy for more than a decade.

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7 Comments
  1. Hettie 7 months ago

    Good to see a fossil fuel company make a move towards the clean side.

    • Joe 7 months ago

      Hello again young Hettie. May I ( cheekily ) ask if ‘Adani Renewables’ would receive your tick of approval?

      • Hettie 7 months ago

        Er, no.
        That family’s record of environmental destruction, human rights abuse, and blatant criminality precludes any approval at all.

        • Joe 7 months ago

          Yep, the Adani vultures should have been sent packing from the very get go. Another FF company that tried RE was BP with its ‘BP Solar’ subsidiary but they packed it in years ago. I suspect that Sonnen will be around for some time to come so perhaps the Sonnen – Shell partnership will be a lasting love affair.

          • Hettie 7 months ago

            Wasn’t BP’s withdrawal from sanity down to a change of CEO?
            SERIOUSLY bad move.

          • Joe 7 months ago

            If I remember it correctly they / BP said it was the competition from China as they / China expanded headlong into Solar PV manufacture.

  2. George Darroch 7 months ago

    This is massive for Sonnen. It’s also a significant move for Shell, who only have a few years to transition successfully away from oil.

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