Sonnen unveils “NEM proof” function for solar batteries


Sonnen, a provider of smart energy storage and virtual power plant (VPP) technology, announced it has released an optimized time-of-use solution designed to maximize customer value under California’s net energy metering (NEM) 3.0 regime.

NEM 3.0 in California cut the value of exporting excess solar generation to the grid by about 75% on average, making new solar-only rooftop installations less valuable than previous iterations of NEM rate structures. By including a battery with smart time-of-use based controls, homeowners can ensure that their PV array is generating value under the new rate structure.

With the new sonnenConnect program, the grid-interactive VPP combines the company’s batteries with an algorithm-based bill management system. The company said this results in electric bill reductions similar to, or exceeding expectations for NEM 2.0 systems.

The company will connect its batteries in a statewide network, responding to price signals embedded in the NEM 3.0 time of use rates. The company said this coordination of resources represents an acceleration of the energy transition.

The VPP program allows customers to participate in the CAISO wholesale energy market, earning cash rewards for balancing the California grid. As part of the program, customers can also access proactive backup power services to mitigate the impact of planned and unplanned grid outages.

Sonnen said its system is designed to offset peak loads daily, regardless of weather-related impacts on solar production. The time-of-use algorithm analyzes the day ahead, preparing for potential weather effects and planned grid events. In the cast of predicted insufficient PV generation the next day, the algorithm will partially charge the battery during super off-peak periods.

Sonnen said this will lead customers to not pay peak-period pricing at any point throughout the year, and that solar will not be wasted by way of low-value grid injection.

“Our German heritage has taught us a great deal about the potential of grid optimized energy storage systems, functioning as a single grid asset, providing authentic grid services for society in a manner that accelerates true energy transition,” said Blake Richetta, chairman and CEO of sonnen Inc.

With the VPP offering, Sonnen will expand its partnership with Baker Home Energy, serving customers in southern California. The company targets enrolling 6,000 batteries in Baker’s ChargeOn program in by 2025.

“With ChargeOn, Baker and sonnen’s joint VPP program, we have already differentiated ourselves from the competition by offering an unparalleled grid services package that generates cash rewards for our customers enrolled in sonnenConnect,” said Mike Teresso, President of Baker Home Energy.

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