Shell buys battery maker Sonnen in clean energy drive

15 February 2019

Shell has bought energy storage company Sonnen as part of efforts to move into clean energy and hit carbon reduction targets.

Sonnen, a battery maker who created a network of home electricity storage systems in Germany, will work with Shell on integrated energy services, electric vehicle charging solutions, and home systems.

The terms of the agreement have not been released. The deal is part of a plan for Shell’s New Energies division to build the company’s assets in the renewable energy industry and it has said it “could spend on average between $1bn–$2bn a year until 2020 on commercial opportunities”.

This follows Shell's joint statement with Climate Action 100+, in December 2018, pledging to take steps towards fulfilling goals set by the Paris Agreement on climate change, including reducing its net carbon footprint associated with the energy products it sells “by around half by 2050 and by around 20% by 2035”.

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’s technology includes a virtual network, where owners of home batteries, sonnenBatterie, store solar-generated energy, which can be shared via its sonnenCommunity platform. This network storage system helps to balance power supply and demand on the grid.

Mark Gainsborough, executive vice president of New Energies at Shell, said: “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.

“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.”

Shell’s New Energies division initially invested in Sonnen through a strategic partnership in 2018. The Sonnen Group first launched as Germany’s largest virtual battery system in 2016, before expanding into Australia and the US in 2017.

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