Sonnen has formed two partnerships, with SolarWorld, a crystalline-silicon solar manufacturer, and with PetersenDean, a residential roofing company, to tap into the U.S. market for energy storage.
The partners plan to offer a complete solar-plus-storage package, including financing, for the U.S. residential market.
The timing of the move coincides with the German company opening a new headquarters in Los Angeles. It has also announced a partnership with financing company Spruce.
Sonnen is trying to steal a march on Tesla. The German energy storage company has already built a U.S. distribution network of more than 30 local solar installation companies, and plans to grow that network to 100 dealers by the end of the year.
“Finding the right partner is key to creating innovative products and cost-effectively delivering clean energy technology to the market,” Boris von Borman, Sonnen’s CEO, said in a statement.
Sonnen also said it is working with clean energy financing company Spruce, the product of a recent merger between Clean Power Finance and Kilowatt Financial. The companies plan to make financing available to Sonnen’s channel partners in the first quarter of 2016. They’re also working on a solar-plus-storage financing option for release later this year.
In mid-December, Sonnen shipped the first 1,000 U.S. storage system orders from its factory in San Jose, California.
Sonnen says residential is its core market, where its systems can provide resiliency in markets such as the Northeast, which is subject to severe winter storms, and self-consumption in markets with high electricity costs, such as Hawaii. In California, Sonnen is looking to attract customers subject to mandatory time-of-use rates who can take advantage of rate arbitrage available between peak and off-peak times.
Tesla recently shifted battery production of its Powerwall residential battery to its Nevada gigafactory and began shipments to fill U.S. orders.
Other players are also jumping into the fray. Last fall Orison unveiled a line of home battery products that require no installation and that the company claims have lower price point than Tesla's Powerwall.