Every day, the sun radiates down onto the earth a thousand times more energy than we could ever use. The demand for technologies capable of tapping into that energy is booming as pressure mounts to find solutions to climate change and sustainable development. Solar photovoltaic (PV) systems – which convert light energy from the sun directly into electricity – produce no greenhouse gases in their operation, have no moving parts, require virtually no maintenance, and have cells that last for decades. How to protect new digital business model with IP-design needed for the energy transformation was the topic of a training by Prof. Wurzer at Sonnen GmbH on 16.05.2023.

PV systems are not new. A nineteen year old French physicist, Edmond Becquerel, is credited with having first described the photovoltaic effect in 1839. But it was not until the 1950s, when American researchers at the Bell Telephone Laboratories developed silicium solar cells, that the modern technological era of PV began – and even then only haltingly. U.S. government support for PV technology was initially tied to the space program, where it was used in 1958 to power the Vanguard satellite. Terrestrial commercialization was subsequently spurred by the 1970s oil crisis, and in the 1980s small markets began to appear, specializing primarily in stand-alone systems for rural areas.

In 2022 solar generated 4.5% of the world’s electricity, compared to 1% in 2015 when the Paris Agreement to limit climate change was signed. Along with onshore wind, in most countries the cheapest levelised cost of electricity for new installations is utility-scale solar.

Almost half the solar power installed in 2022 was rooftop. Much more low-carbon power, such as solar, is urgently needed to limit climate change, but the International Energy Agency said in 2022 that more effort was needed for grid integration and the mitigation of policy, regulation and financing challenges.

Storing solar power

Storing this surplus energy is essential to getting the most out of any solar panel system, and can result in cost-savings, more efficient energy grids, and decreased fossil fuel emissions.

Solar energy storage can be broken into three general categories: battery, thermal, and mechanical. Batteries are by far the most common way for residential installations to store solar energy. When solar energy is pumped into a battery, a chemical reaction among the battery components stores the energy. The reaction is reversed when the battery is discharged, allowing current to exit the battery. Lithium-ion batteries are most commonly used in solar applications, and new battery technology is expanding rapidly, which promises to yield cheaper, more scalable battery storage solutions. In fact, U.S. energy storage is expected to reach nearly 7.5 GW annually by 2025, a sixfold growth from 2020, representing a market worth $7.3 billion.

Who is Sonnen?

In 2010, their journey began in a small town in Southern Germany. Driven by the desire to create a clean and affordable energy future for everyone, the founders Christoph Ostermann and Torsten Stiefenhofer developed the first sonnenBatterie. At a time when solar energy was only fed into the grid, they created a system that allows households to store and consume their self-generated energy, day and night. Today, they are a global leader in energy storage solutions with offices in Germany, Italy, Great Britain, the United States, and Australia. Their purpose is to challenge the existing energy system, so that the customers worldwide can enjoy a clean, reliable and affordable energy future through the smart solutions. From Greenland to New Zealand, solar power is generated, shared and consumed with their products.

What began as a batttery designed to solve the problem of excess solar generation has grown into a sophisticated ecosystem of energy generation, storage and distribution that helps solve today’s complex energy and environmental challenges. Their solutions are customised to the needs of each market. Built with German engineering combined with local ingenuity and manufactured in Australia, the USA, and Germany, their products are shipped locally, reducing the carbon footprint.

Power for your house

The sonnenBatterie does not only store energy, it’s smart. As an intelligent, backup capable, energy storage system, sonnenBatterie can integrate into any existing PV system on the market. Gaining energy independence and hedging against future energy price increases.

They work on the intelligent interconnection of products and services to deliver proven results in various markets. They have set a new benchmark in transforming the existing energy system from purely centralised power plants into decentralised, networked clean energy virtual power plants based on the revolutionary sonnenVPP software.

They strongly believe that sustainable energy should be available to anyone. Together with strong and competent partners, they have succeeded in bringing tens of thousands of sonnenBatteries into the households of so called sonnenCommunity members. This has not only saved the equivalent of 144,000 metric tons of CO2 – it also creates new opportunities every single day to step by step turn their vision into reality.

Strong partners with strong values: sonnen has been part of Shell Renewables and Energy Solutions since 2019. Shell supports sonnen’s vision of clean, reliable and affordable energy for all. Together, the two companies aim to develop a clean energy future in a sustainable and scalable way using technologies with the highest quality and safety standards and a focus on excellence in partnership.

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