Shell-owned German battery giant Sonnen has won an Australian gong for transforming a former Holden car factory in Adelaide into a battery manufacturing and export hub for the Asia Pacific region.
The battery maker took out the Research & Development Investment Award at the 57th Australian Export Awards in Canberra on Wednesday night – an award that recoginses an international company that has made an enduring contribution to the Australian economy.
Sonnen was honoured for its direct investment in Elizabeth, to manufacture sonnenBatteries bringing new skills and capabilities to Australia and creating export opportunities for its home batteries to Asia Pacific.
The plant began assembly of sonnenBatteries in Australia for the first time in November of 2018, as one of three new manufacturing and assembly plants to set up in South Australia off the back of the state government’s battery incentive scheme.
In comments in March, Sonnen CEO Christoph Ostermann said the company was looking at a dramatic lift in production of between five to 10 fold over the next two years.
Nathan Dunn, CEO of sonnen Asia Pacific said the Elizabeth factory provided a perfect opportunity for the battery maker to leverage existing skills in the South Australia manufacturing workforce.
“We’ve hired former Holden employees and equipped them with new skills and jobs to build a cleantech manufacturing industry right here in Australia,” Dunn said.
“As part of our commitment to innovation, we have created a small research and development team in South Australia that looks into how we are adapting sonnenBatteries for deployment in Australia and to support the rollout of Virtual Power Plants,” he added.
“With the growth in the adoption of rooftop solar, we have the capacity to export sonnenBatteries to Asia Pacific creating new economic opportunities for our country.”