Sonnen snares “Australian Made” status as tough new battery rules hit

German energy storage giant Sonnen can now officially claim to produce Australian-made batteries, after getting official industry accreditation as a South Australian manufacturer.

The company said on Friday that its sonnenBatterie eco 9.53 was given approval as Australian Made by meeting the criteria set out in the Australian Consumer Law and the Australian Made, Australian Grown (AMAG) Code of Practice.

The accreditation also includes recognition of Sonnen as a manufacturer of South Australian products, from the Office of the Industry Advocate (OIA).

The milestone comes almost one year after the now Shell-owned company opened its Adelaide assembly and manufacturing plant, at the site of an old Holden factory in Elizabeth.

It also coincides with the publication of Australia’s first home battery installation standard which, while much needed to guide the nascent industry, has been controversial for its heavy handed and arbitrary approach to battery fire-proofing.

Read our explainer on what Australia’s new battery installation standard means for you, here…

As we reported here, many of the industry’s major players – Sonnen included – have claimed the new rules will add unnecessary cost and complexity to the installation of their products in Australian homes, and put a “massive brake” on the industry, just as it is getting its footing.

Sonnen’s Australian plant – which has so far produced 2,000 batteries, but has the potential to make 12,000 batteries a year – was built off the back of a deal with the South Australian government, as part of its Home Battery Scheme.

As part of that scheme, which was launched in October last year, sonnen has so far installed around 500 sonnenBatteries in the past 12 months.

How the new battery installation guidelines affect the progress of the South Australian program – or that of the notably sluggish Victorian home battery rebate – remains to be seen.

South Australia’s Liberal government has been keen to boost the uptake of home battery storage in the state, to encourage the smart management of excess rooftop solar generation via virtual power plants and other demand management technologies.

“Home batteries are gaining momentum in South Australia as consumers are empowered to generate and store their own electricity, reducing their power bills,” said the state’s minister for energy Dan van Holst Pellekaan, from the Sonnen factory.

“The Home Battery Scheme is an Australian-first. Our reputation in clean energy transition has paved the way for international companies like Sonnen to set up advanced battery manufacturing in our state.

“This factory is creating jobs for South Australians across this sector which is constantly gaining momentum,” van Holst Pellekaan said.

Sonnen managing director of Australia, Nathan Dunn, said Australia was going through a significant clean energy transition, but also indicated the importance of its neighbouring markets to the company’s local manufacturing plans.

“Home owners are increasingly aware about the benefits of home batteries in reducing their bills and being able to rely on the solar energy they have generated during the day,” he said on Friday.

“As we continue to identify new markets in Asia with export potential for certified Australian Made sonnenBatteries, sonnen will look to increase the manufacturing of our home batteries.”

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