Solar news: February 21st, 2019

In this week’s Solar News Roundup, learn about two exciting new developments concerning solar batteries: an international company acquisition and a plan for nearly a gigawatt of new solar and storage resources in Arizona.

Shell agrees to acquire all of sonnen

Back in May 2018, German battery startup sonnen partnered with Shell, the powerful Dutch energy company and one of the largest companies in the world. Now, Shell has announced plans to buy 100 percent of sonnen, increasing its reach into clean energy industries and markets.

In a world where products like the Tesla Powerwall and LG Chem’s RESU battery dominate the small but growing residential energy storage markets, having access to the global reach of a company like Shell gives sonnen a better chance to compete in countries across the world. Sonnen has promised to bring their smart home battery technology down to a lower, more accessible price, and Shell may be the perfect partner to help them do just that.

Aside from storing power, sonnen’s battery products have larger grid applications, as they can be aggregated into a controllable network of energy resources for grid users. Shell has already invested in several clean energy companies similarly disrupting the energy industry, and the company as a whole overlaps more with traditional electric utilities with each investment. “We’re not trying to replicate what others have done in the past – we want to offer customers what they want going forward,” said Brian Davis, Vice President of energy solutions at Shell. “In some sense, we’re trying to create the utility of the future.”

Nearly 1 GW of battery and solar resources coming to Arizona by 2025

Arizona Public Service (APS), the largest investor-owned utility in Arizona, just announced a massive commitment to solar and storage technology encompassing 850 megawatts (MW) of storage and at least 100 MW of solar power generation by the year 2025. Notable parts of the plan include:

  • Adding 200 MW of storage to existing utility-owned solar projects
  • Deploying 500 MW of new battery storage
  • Contracting for 150 MW of third-party-owned storage

APS is also currently working on a dispatchable solar project with developer and manufacturer First Solar, which, when added into the mix, brings the total contracted clean energy resources for APS to over 1 gigawatt (GW).

“We feel very strongly that coupling up solar and battery storage technology, especially as it continues to decline in price and become more attractive as a resource for our customers, is a very powerful combination,” said Brad Alber, VP of resource management for APS. “It helps to meet our critical customer needs with clean energy resources. That’s why we feel so good about being able to forge a path in this direction today.”