Looks like Tesla may have some competition in the home-battery space. A German company called Sonnen may not be making as many headlines as Tesla, but its goal is still to make some serious waves in the U.S. home-battery market.
How is it going to do that? Well, the company just announced a new home battery called the Eco Compact, which has a 4kWh capacity and can be used for self-consumption — not just for power storage in case you need backup power. Not only that, but the battery can be bought in in 4kWh increments, all the way up to 16kWh with a base cost of $5,950.
There is a big difference between the Tesla Powerwall and Sonnen’s Eco Compact — the Sonnen battery comes with a power inverter and it’s guaranteed for up to 10,000 cycles. Tesla’s 7kWh Powerwall costs around $7,340 — after also purchasing an inverter — however Tesla only guarantees its battery for 10 years, which, according to Green Tech Media, only ends up at around 5,000 cycles. In other words, while the Powerwall has a higher capacity, it’s more expensive and will not last as long.
None of this necessarily means that Sonnen is going to totally take down Tesla — in fact, Tesla is rumored to be prepping the Powerwall 2.0 for launch in the near future, so it’s totally possible that a future Powerwall will be rated for more cycles and will come at a cheaper price.
According to a report from Sonnen, the real targets for the Eco Compact are markets where net metering, which allows people to sell energy back to offset the cost of panels, is under threat by regulators. Why? Because a home battery would allow solar users to store up their energy and use it later, still saving them money in the long run. In fact, Nevada has already decided to end net metering, and Hawaii is set to follow.
Of course, it’s important to note that the Eco Compact isn’t going to help people completely get off the grid. In fact, the battery has to be connected to grid power in order to work properly. According to Sonnen CEO Boris von Bormann in a report from Ars Technica, it’s designed to offer “various grid-tied functions — increasing household solar self-consumption, managing time-of-use, and supporting grid services.”
The new Eco Compact is now available for pre-order from the Sonnen’s website, however if you’re looking for a home battery, you may want to wait and see what Tesla has up its sleeve next.