Sonnen Q

romex jockey

Senior Member
Location
Vermont
I'm being solicited , but know little to nothing about these 'energy storage systems', or 'virtual power plants'....?

So i figure i'll post it here , hoping maybe some of you folks that have experience cold opine....

>>>>
https://sonnenusa.com/en/


Virtual Power Plant -

Video -

Video -

~RJ~

* Energy Automation at SPI 2018 -
 
1. I have never seen in person or installed.
2. I like the idea of large scale distributed storage, but there should be incentive for me. Most parts of the country do not have time of use rates.
3. It is not "green" unless its use is coordinated with the POCO which, again for the vast majority of areas, is not.
4. Could be a nice backup system - no fuel, noise, etc, but I imagine it is quite limited in what it can run and for how long.
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
1. I have never seen in person or installed.
2. I like the idea of large scale distributed storage, but there should be incentive for me. Most parts of the country do not have time of use rates.
3. It is not "green" unless its use is coordinated with the POCO which, again for the vast majority of areas, is not.
4. Could be a nice backup system - no fuel, noise, etc, but I imagine it is quite limited in what it can run and for how long.
Is that why POCO pad mount transformers are usually painted green? :)
 

jaggedben

Senior Member
Have any of you guys seen/installed these ?
Yes.

and what is you opinion of them??

~RJ~
I'd rather place the emphasis on facts, but here you go with only a little bit of opinion sprinkled in.
  • They've actually been in the home energy storage business longer than most of the competitors, having started in Germany a decade or more ago. Their more expensive EcoLinx product is the only home energy storage I'm aware of with a 15 year warranty instead of 10.
  • You typically will wire a 50-200A circuit from the main panel to the Sonnen Unit, and another from the Sonnen to backed up loads panel. You'll have to relocate the loads the customer wants backed up (and solar PV if that's part of the project), unless your lucky enough to find them already mostly in a convenient place. It can be a disadvantage compared to some competitors that the transfer switch is contained in the same unit as everything else, especially since the unit is also not rated to be installed outdoors. There'll be a few other details like CTs and ethernet hookup in a full install.
  • The internals are essentially an 7kW Outback Radian inverter with additional software and hardware add-ons by Sonnen. (All warranty is through Sonnen though.) You decide how much battery storage capacity (5-20kWh) to install.
  • The batteries are lithium iron phosphate chemistry, which is inherently safer and longer lasting than the lithium nickel-manganese-cobalt you get in Tesla, LG Chem, and Panasonic. (It's also heavier, but this isn't an issue with Sonnen because the individual battery units are smaller and the unit sits on the floor.)
 

Hv&Lv

Senior Member
Location
-
Occupation
Engineer/Technician
Does anyone have any technical information on them?
We have just started looking to a Tesla power wall.
we are thinking about putting one of these in with an invertor to power our DC relays and equipment.
when you install $15,000 worth of lead acid batteries in a substation this may be a viable option.
 

JoeNorm

Senior Member
Location
WA
We've installed a number of these. They're nice.

One of the benefits of this brand in particular is they have a 200amp transfer switch so you can put them in-between the service and the main panel. So the entire house is now "backed-up". This of course only works if the loads are appropriate or if you have ways to turn off bigger loads during an outage.

They can also be used for "time of use" applications and many other fancy things. We are currently only selling them as very expensive backup power.
 

Hv&Lv

Senior Member
Location
-
Occupation
Engineer/Technician
We've installed a number of these. They're nice.

One of the benefits of this brand in particular is they have a 200amp transfer switch so you can put them in-between the service and the main panel. So the entire house is now "backed-up". This of course only works if the loads are appropriate or if you have ways to turn off bigger loads during an outage.

They can also be used for "time of use" applications and many other fancy things. We are currently only selling them as very expensive backup power.
When you say expensive, could you give a number?
 

romex jockey

Senior Member
Location
Vermont
Jag,
I'm under the impression some sort of debate exists along the lines of what materials battery storage units are made of.....?

any validity about this on your end of the world?

~RJ~
 

jaggedben

Senior Member
Not sure what you mean.

There are certainly many different battery chemistries and there's certainly validity to the fact that they have different characteristics, advantages, and disadvantages. Beyond that, I wouldn't say that there's some sort of coherent, industry wide debate between any two types right now.

If you're talking about lithium iron phosphate vs lithium nickel manganese cobalt, see above. These battery chemistries are by and large very similar when compared to each other instead of to something like lead acid batteries. The latter, while cheaper per nominal battery capacity, have a much lower usable capacity and require much more diligent maintenance routines than most homeowners can be trusted with.
 

Hv&Lv

Senior Member
Location
-
Occupation
Engineer/Technician
Not sure what you mean.

There are certainly many different battery chemistries and there's certainly validity to the fact that they have different characteristics, advantages, and disadvantages. Beyond that, I wouldn't say that there's some sort of coherent, industry wide debate between any two types right now.

If you're talking about lithium iron phosphate vs lithium nickel manganese cobalt, see above. These battery chemistries are by and large very similar when compared to each other instead of to something like lead acid batteries. The latter, while cheaper per nominal battery capacity, have a much lower usable capacity and require much more diligent maintenance routines than most homeowners can be trusted with.
Far from an expert here.
We are exploring the idea of using one of these for a substation application.

my reading tells me that the lithium iron phosphate is more stable and less susceptible to thermal runaway, and last longer.

What is your experience or opinion on this?

my Thinking is connect it to station AC service, but since the output is Internally converted to AC, I would have to have the AC output connected to a DC invertor to output 48VDC or 120VDC, depending on station requirements.

what is the DC voltage of these units? Could we have a direct DC output?

but then, if we do that why not simply buy lithium iron batteries??
 

jaggedben

Senior Member
I don't have the expertise to truly address your application but here's a few comments.

First, if your application is DC then you obviously don't need an inverter. You probably just need an appropriate charge controller and transfer switch and such. Probably a lot less money for equipment than entry-level for Sonnen, but I could be wrong and you'll probably have to engineer it in house.

Sonnen is designed for AC applications. Their individual battery units have BMS and communications and I'm sure could support DC applications somehow, but I don't think they will be inclined to support those in an application other than their home storage units. There is another company, Simpliphi, that makes very similar LiFePo battery units that seem to be truly intended to replace older lead acid/AGM batteries in configurations that were designed for such. That might be a better bet for you since applications for such are very broad. But unlike Sonnen I don't have direct experience with them.

Whether your application really calls for lithium is somewhat out of my range to answer.
 
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