Sonnen releases smart solar and storage algorithm targeting California’s NEM 3.0

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Reddit
Email
California is the leading residential solar market in the US, and has been seen as a bellwether for the rest of the nation when it comes to solar. Image: REC Solar

German residential solar and storage provider sonnen has released a new home solar and storage optimisation software for the Californian market, specifically designed to work with the controversial Net Energy Metering (NEM) 3.0 legislation in the state.

The software, called sonnenConnect, will deploy a time of use (TOU) algorithm which, in conjunction with a battery, which NEM 3.0 reportedly incentivises, “ensures customers will not pay peak-period pricing at any point throughout the year”, sonnen said.

This article requires Premium SubscriptionBasic (FREE) Subscription

Unlock unlimited access for 12 whole months of distinctive global analysis

Photovoltaics International is now included.

  • Regular insight and analysis of the industry’s biggest developments
  • In-depth interviews with the industry’s leading figures
  • Unlimited digital access to the PV Tech Power journal catalogue
  • Unlimited digital access to the Photovoltaics International journal catalogue
  • Access to more than 1,000 technical papers
  • Discounts on Solar Media’s portfolio of events, in-person and virtual

Or continue reading this article for free

The company added that its algorithm analyses and predicts ahead of time, searching for weather conditions or planned grid events that would affect the price or efficiency of a residential solar generation system. If the installed system is not forecast to meet demand that day, the algorithm would compensate by partially charging its residential battery with super off-peak time power from the grid, thus saving the consumer from using peak-time power as well as balancing grid demand.

In its press release, sonnen said that, viewed as a single state-wide battery network or virtual power plant, the sonnenConnect system “represents a blueprint to accelerate the energy transition”. Optimised and time-managed renewables sources can allow for greater penetration and capacity whilst maintaining a balanced grid, the latter of which California is severely in need of upgrading according to a white paper published in September by state utility Edison International.

On days where injecting power back into the grid would be financially beneficial, the algorithm would inject only at the most valuable times using the NEM 3.0 Avoided Cost Calculator.

Ultimately, sonnen claims that the sonnenConnect system and algorithm would result in savings comparable with the rates expected under NEM 2, the previous net metering legislation which offered far higher rates of repayment to consumers selling power back to the grid and was a large driver in California’s large uptake of residential rooftop solar and its position as the biggest residential market in the US.

“Our German heritage has taught us a great deal about the potential of grid-optimised energy storage systems, functioning as a single grid asset, providing authentic grid services for society in a manner that accelerates true energy transition,” said Blake Richetta, chairman and CEO of sonnen Inc.

Incentivising battery storage and load shifting

NEM 3.0 deploys TOU rates for consumers that vary significantly between peak and off-peak hours. When the bill passed in December 2022, the California Public Utilities Commission said that the TOU rates “incent battery storage and load shifting from evening hours to overnight or midday hours.”

Some solar industry representatives, such as the California Solar and Storage Assocation, have been scathing of NEM 3.0 and warned that it could “cut solar off at the knees” by making it far less financially attractive to new customers.

However, as covered by our sister publication Energy-storage.news, residential energy storage providers, including sonnen, were more receptive to the change. CEO Blake Richetta said at 2022’s RE+ trade show that “we are following the natural path of grid architecture and grid science. We must transform renewable energy to something dispatchable. We believe there is a world that must be beyond net metering.”

As experts predicted at the time of NEM 3.0’s announcement, California saw a flurry of residential solar installations between the announcement and implementation of the bill. San Francisco-based residential solar developer SunRun reported a 25% jump in installations in 2022, led by Californian installations that rose 30%. SunRun’s competitor SunPower expanded its California marketing and sales division around the same time in order to capitalise on the customers looking to secure favourable NEM 2 export rates before the new legislation kicked in.

The rollout of this algorithm in California deepens sonnen’s partnership with California home energy solutions provider Baker Home Energy, which incorporated sonnen’s product into its ChargeOn residential customer programme, which is tailored to NEM 3.0. Baker aims to incorporate 6,000 batteries into the system across southern California by 2025.

Reports from earlier this year, covered once again by our sister site Energy-storage.news, said that Shell – sonnen’s parent company – was looking to sell it, looking for buyers willing to take at least a majority stake, and possibly the whole operation. As of September, sonnen’s valuation was reported between €1.35-1.8 billion (US$1.45-1.93 billion). Whether the sale would include the US arm of sonnen is yet to be clarified.

8 October 2024
San Francisco Bay Area, USA
PV Tech has been running an annual PV CellTech Conference since 2016. PV CellTech USA, on 8-9 October 2024 is our second PV CellTech conference dedicated to the U.S. manufacturing sector. The event in 2023 was a sell out success and 2024 will once again gather the key stakeholders from PV manufacturing, equipment/materials, policy-making and strategy, capital equipment investment and all interested downstream channels and third-party entities. The goal is simple: to map out PV manufacturing in the U.S. out to 2030 and beyond.
26 November 2024
Málaga, Spain
Understanding PV module supply to the European market in 2025. PV ModuleTech Europe 2024 is a two-day conference that tackles these challenges directly, with an agenda that addresses all aspects of module supplier selection; product availability, technology offerings, traceability of supply-chain, factory auditing, module testing and reliability, and company bankability.
11 March 2025
Frankfurt, Germany
The conference will gather the key stakeholders from PV manufacturing, equipment/materials, policy-making and strategy, capital equipment investment and all interested downstream channels and third-party entities. The goal is simple: to map out PV manufacturing out to 2030 and beyond.
17 June 2025
Napa, USA
PV Tech has been running PV ModuleTech Conferences since 2017. PV ModuleTech USA, on 17-18 June 2025, will be our fourth PV ModulelTech conference dedicated to the U.S. utility scale solar sector. The event will gather the key stakeholders from solar developers, solar asset owners and investors, PV manufacturing, policy-making and and all interested downstream channels and third-party entities. The goal is simple: to map out the PV module supply channels to the U.S. out to 2026 and beyond.

Read Next

July 12, 2024
China started conducting a trade and investment barrier investigation on the measures used in the EU’s Foreign Subsidies Regulation (FAR).
July 12, 2024
Swiss Utility BKW Energie AG has sign a power purchase agreement with food and beverage company Nestlé in Germany.
July 12, 2024
China is building two-thirds of new solar and wind projects globally as it is building 180GW of utility-scale of solar generation capacity.
July 12, 2024
The Pomerantz Law Firm has brought a class action lawsuit against Singapore-headquartered solar manufacturer Maxeon Solar Technologies concerning whether “Maxeon and certain of its officers and/or directors have engaged in securities fraud or other unlawful business practices.”
July 12, 2024
Solar developer Green Gold Energy revealed on Thursday (11 July) that it has received development approval to construct a 108MW solar farm in South Australia.
July 12, 2024
Spanish inverter manufacturer Ingeteam has signed a supply agreement for Enel Green Power Australia’s 93MW Girgarre solar farm.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Webinars
July 31, 2024
1:00 PM (BST) / 2:00PM (CEST)
Solar Media Events
September 24, 2024
Warsaw, Poland
Solar Media Events
September 24, 2024
Singapore, Asia
Solar Media Events
October 8, 2024
San Francisco Bay Area, USA
Solar Media Events
October 15, 2024
Santiago, Chile