Shell to Acquire Energy Storage Firm Sonnen

February 18, 2019 by Scott McMahan

Shell has agreed to acquire 100% of Sonnen, a German-based smart-energy storage systems and energy-services firm for households. This agreement follows an investment by Shell in May 2018. After regulatory approval and completion of the transaction, Sonnen will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Shell.

"Sonnen is one of the global leaders in smart, distributed energy storage systems and has a track record of customer-focused innovation. Full ownership of Sonnen will allow us to offer more choice to customers seeking reliable, affordable and cleaner energy," Mark Gainsborough, Executive Vice President New Energies at Shell, said. "Together, we can accelerate the building of a customer-focused energy system in support of Shell's strategy to offer more and cleaner energy solutions to customers."

Christoph Ostermann, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Sonnen, said, "Shell New Energies is the perfect partner for helping us grow in a market that is expanding rapidly. With this investment, we're excited to help more households to become energy independent and benefit from new opportunities in the energy market. Shell will help drive the growth of Sonnen to a new level and help speed up the transformation of the energy system."

Sonnen offers smart energy storage to customers and offers digital energy services via its sonnenCommunity platform. For example, the sonnenBatterie optimizes the use of solar power in a household and supplies energy at night using stored solar power generated in the daytime. (See image above of man standing next to Sonnen Backup Box).  Sonnen has been a pioneer in the energy market by combining its technology with new business models for a decentralized energy system.

Sonnen Battery Community allows customers that pay a monthly fee to have access to battery power from a pool of batteries. This service is only available in Germany so far. (Click on image to enlarge).

Recently, Sonnen put Germany's biggest virtual battery into operation. It is based on a network of home electricity storage systems across the country to help balance power supply and demand on the power grid. So, in addition to offering energy storage technology (the sonnenBatterie), its German customers can pay a monthly fee to be a member of a pool of energy storage batteries. In this way, users with solar or wind power can power their own homes and also sell power to others in the battery pool. So far, this service is only available in Germany.

The agreement is expected to accelerate the ability of the two companies to deliver innovative integrated energy services and electric vehicle charging solutions, and the provision of grid services that are based on Sonnen's virtual battery pool.

The Shell-owned Sonnen subsidiary will work with the Shell New Energies division that the company established in 2016. The Shell New Energies division focuses on new fuels for transportation such as hydrogen and biofuels and power. In the power sector, Shell New Energies is involved in almost every stage of the process of generating, buying and selling, and supplying electricity to customers.