Sonnen to start making batteries in Australia next month

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Sonnen says residential batteries will start rolling off the production line of its South Australian plant starting next month – November 2018.

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German energy storage giant sonnen Group has revealed it expects to produce its first Australian-made residential sonnenBatterie within weeks, at the former Holden car factory in Elizabeth, South Australia.

The manufacturing plant, first proposed under the state’s former Labor government, aims to produce 10,000 batteries a year to meet soaring demand from Australian households, as well as for export to the neighbouring Asia Pacific region.

The repurposed factory got the go-ahead from the new Liberal government, just a day after it unveiled the details of its $100 million Home Battery Scheme, a subsidy of up to $6,000 per household that will be supported by a further $100 million in finance from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

“Customers who invest in a sonnenBatterie produce a positive ripple effect on Australia’s economy through their purchase with hundreds of direct and indirect jobs generated for Australia’s manufacturing industry,” said sonnen COO Oliver Koch in comments on Thursday.

“It will also enable sonnen to accelerate its battery roll-out program to create a ‘virtual power plant’, an important new renewable energy source for Australia,” he added.

The update on sonnen’s progress in Australia comes with the announcement of a new managing director for the company’s Australia and Asia Pacific operations, Nathan Dunn.

Sonnen said Dunn – who was previously at US inverter specialist, Enphase, and GE before that – would be responsible for growing the company’s market share in Australia and Asia Pacific and delivering on its strategy to manufacture “an intelligent, high-tech solar storage system,” at the former Holden factory in Elizabeth.

Dunn succeeds Chris Parratt, who will leave the company to pursue new opportunities, sonnen said.

“We are delighted to welcome Nathan to the sonnen Group,” said Koch. “His credentials and management experience in the clean energy industry will allow us to accelerate the delivery of sonnenBatteries that are made in Australia.”

Dunn said he was both “delighted and proud” to be part of sonnen as it ramped up operations in Australia.

“The Australian residential rooftop solar market is experiencing significant growth and I look forward to being part of a team that is committed to helping customers transition to a clean energy future,” he said.

“Working with sonnen, I believe we will revitalise the pride of Australia’s manufacturing heritage and set a new milestone to position South Australia as a beacon for cleantech manufacturing globally.”

Sonnen plans to create up to 430 new jobs in South Australia as it builds production for the $100 million South Australia Home Battery Scheme.

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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