FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell-operated German solar battery maker sonnen expects expansion in line with its core market, which is growing rapidly as people seek to move away from fossil fuels.
Oliver Koch, who became managing director in September, said that sonnen's batteries, which are primarily aimed at homeowners with solar photovoltaic systems and allow them to save their power for later use, have great potential.
“We are growing at the same speed as the overall market. The German market is expected to grow by 30% this year and we will not want to lose any market share, “he said, adding that sonnen's share was 20%,” Koch told Reuters.
The company's global competitors include LG Chem and Tesla from South Korea.
Independent market research by sonnen shows that 180,000 to 200,000 batteries were installed in Germany at the beginning of 2020 and sales have more than doubled in two years.
Sales of new batteries in 2020 could have reached 70,000 to 80,000 when 120,000 households first installed solar panels.
Germany already has 2 million rooftop photovoltaic systems as the country deviates from fossil fuels because of its energy needs, and there are many more options as there are a total of 15 million free-standing and semi-free-standing buildings.
Homeowners focused on appliances and energy optimization. Many stayed home during the coronavirus crisis and found battery prices falling.
Customers had also expected to use batteries to charge electric cars and heat pumps, an area where utilities are active and oil companies want access, Koch said.
Koch said Sonnen, which has sales of several hundred million euros and employs 750 people, has sold 60,000 batteries worldwide to date. In addition to Germany, Sonnen is also active in the USA, Australia, Great Britain and France.
Reporting by Vera Eckert and Christoph Steitz, editing by Alexander Smith