solar news roundup

Solar news: Shell Ventures invests in solar battery company sonnen, American businesses are installing record amounts of solar

In this week’s Solar News Roundup, sonnen receives a large investment round lead by Shell Ventures, and American businesses installed an additional 325 MW of solar last year.

Shell Ventures leads a $71 million funding round for sonnen

sonnen, a leading manufacturer of home energy storage, announced last week that it has raised $71 million in capital to fund its expansion. This was predominantly due to a large contribution by Shell Ventures, a unit of the British-Dutch oil and gas company Shell. Shell has been increasing its investments in the renewable energy sector in recent years, a common trend seen as many of the multinational oil companies look to diversify their holdings.

Currently, sonnen operates in parts of Europe (Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Britain), as well as Australia and the United States. Today, most of sonnen’s customers are located in Germany, where the company was founded, but the company has big plans for growth. “With this money, we can started on important investment plans, especially in the United States and Australia,” stated Christoph Ostermann, the chief executive officer at sonnen.

Already a popular home storage option, this large amount of capital will help sonnen further its reach in the home battery sphere, and potentially increase its market share against other lithium-ion battery competitors such as the Tesla Powerwall, LG Chem RESU, and the Pika Energy Smart Harbor Battery.

Businesses in America are turning to solar as a energy solution

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) announced that businesses across the country are investing in record amounts of solar in its latest report, Solar Means Business 2017. Overall, top corporations in the United States added approximately 325 megawatts (MW) of installed solar capacity in 2017. These additions bringing the total for commercial solar projects to 2,562 MW, enough to power 402,000 U.S. homes.

For the second year in a row, Target was identified as the leader of total megawatts of solar installed (203.5 MW). Other popular corporations such as Walmart, Apple, Costco Wholesale, IKEA, Macy’s, and Amazon also made the top 10 list of corporations with the most solar capacity installed historically.

Abigail Ross Hopper, the president and CEO of SEIA, noted that for large corporations, using solar to provide electricity is an obvious choice. “To leading companies across America, deploying solar is a common-sense business decision… Large corporations have found that going solar not only benefits the environment, but also their bottom-line, satisfying both shareholders and customers alike.”

In addition to solar, there’s a growing trend of companies practicing other measures in the name of sustainability. Apple, for example, uses clean energy to power 100% of its facilities globally, using both solar and other types of renewable technology. Kohl’s uses solar to help decrease overall greenhouse gas emissions, but also runs a recycling program that recycles around 150,000 tons of materials on an annual basis. IKEA, a popular furniture provider, also has goals to only utilize wood in their items that’s sourced from sustainable materials. These businesses, among many others, can help in setting an example for other businesses looking to invest in corporate social responsibility measures and benefit the greater environment.