Do you think the overarching goal for most consumers is to achieve a zero dollar energy bill and do you think this will become the norm going forward?
What we see as the overarching motive is that people are frustrated with utilities, they are frustrated with price policies, they are frustrated with the politics, so they want to be independent, so the question is what does independence mean? Obviously zero electricity is something very catchy but the real motive for a lot of our customers is they want to reach real independence, they don’t necessarily mind the investment up front, the issue is long term independence from utilities and politics. This is the main driver for the USA, for Germany and also Australia, so this is why zero electricity is always nice to have and is very catchy and allows us to have aggressive marketing, but the real issue is people are sick and tired of being exposed to price policies that they have not participated in, that they are not responsible for and neither the politicians nor the big companies take care of their electricity bills, so we offer them true independence by not only giving them hardware where you have 70 – 80% of sufficiency , but we connect them and link them together , and we see this is the true emotional desire of our customers besides the economic benefit so we truly believe those prosumer based utilities will be the next big thing when it comes to catering to the need and motive of being energy independent. So being energy independent is more important in our perspective than saving money, however it still allows us to drop their electricity bill to $0.
Do you see a transition of power away from the electricity companies and retailers back into the pocket of consumers?
Absolutely, and an example from Germany I just mentioned 80% of electricity generated on the first of May has been generated from renewable sources and if you look at the sources, they are from a combined end phase of 2.2 million assets and they are owned by private citizens, 95% of them are owned by citizens. If you look at the conventionalists in Germany we had 100 active power plants active from the first of May, they are owned by the big utilities. So if you look at the pure facts of who owns those assets, will have the lowest electricity price moving forward, and you see the shift and new asset owners are citizens and not companies. So we will work towards connecting those assets.
What do you think is the impact on a property value of a home that has an energy storage solution? Does having a solar battery make a house more attractive for resale and how are you future proofing home energy solutions in doing so?
In Germany, one of the main reasons or one of the big characteristics we see with big real estate development companies looking for Green technologies because they always on the market for not only wanting an image of Green lifestyle but they also want to break down costs over ten years to zero which is a great marketing tool and is increasing the value of their real-estate asset, so yes this is absolute one of the main drivers.
How does sonnen Flat insulate customers from rising electricity and supply charges and risk in this area, and what you mentioned previously is there is always political and electrical instability, one of the biggest concerns we are finding consumers have with the standard battery is ‘ I can offset the electricity cost but I can’t offset the supply charge cost’, so how is the sonnen flat different there?
Its different in the way we become the utility and are guaranteeing to the end customer the outcome of zero electricity bills. Obviously sonnen as a, lets say a peer to peer community, as the utility will have the risk, the risk is on the other side of the country an income generated from grid stabilisatiom but also for wholesale which is offsetting the cost that we have to make sure our customers have zero electricity bill, but if you look at the total risk in Australia and Germany you’ll see that the storage units are opening up not only grid stabilisation model, frequency regulation model and wholesale shift, where we can actually make electricity accessible and very cheap, for example low tariff time where you start sucking in electricity, but you’re right, we still have a company will carry the right of the supply pricing.
What is your take on the current grid crisis, the instability crisis that we have across Australia with black outs and issues with the national electricity market?
Our take is, due to the fact that all the national gas of Australia is not available for the market itself, you guys are dependant on coal and solar so there is a structural deficit when it comes to base loads, so there is an increase in our perspective when it comes to implementing storage large scale, and also from our perspective, it need to be consistent with assets that are optimising the grid. So it’s necessary from our perspective that Australia not only has a large roll out of assets, but those assets must be grid optimised so they must be capable of allowing grid operators to stabilise of the grid when needed and this always is for money, it will not be for free for sure, but we believe it will only be a sustainable solution when the grid is optimised, otherwise, all you have is thousands and thousands of islands that your building that cannot provide a full solution to the grid issue that Australia has.
We have already seen a huge demand for back up power in line with grid instability and already well publicised in the media, how well do you think this trend will continue moving forward?
We believe the demand will continue to increase as there is so much frustration also just the situation of being at home, and not having refrigeration, not having air conditioning so we believe this will be the main driver for our customers in Australia. We have also just announced an additional retrofit back up option for Australia so we believe this will be, and will remain one of the key ingredients to remain successful in solar storage.
How does the concept of electricity sharing and building a virtual power plant work in reality?
In reality what we do in Germany is quite simple. We have a almost 2 million solar power plants that are all owned by private citizens at the moment they are feeding them to the grid and they get a subsidy from the government per kilowatt hour. What we do in the next year is we already now the subsidy is fading so for customers will have to look for that need electricity and there will be no other subsidy to pay for the power they are feeding into the grid at any moment.
In 10 years, what do you think the house of the future will look like?
We believe in ten years all newly built homes in Australia and Germany will be fully electrified when it comes to heating, when it comes to power generation and when it comes to driving a car, so exactly what you’re describing, we see the trend is strong in US, Germany and in Australia that people are moving away from Gas and Oil in their homes, and towards and using clean, smart and electric heating with heat pumps so we believe all these sources such as transportation, heat electrification and will be powered by solar in ten years .
What is sonnen Flat?
sonnen Flat guarantees our customers a zero electricity bill if they allow us to use their storage device to partake in the wholesale market and frequency regulation, the frequency stabilisation market.
What benefits are there for your battery over more common batteries on the market that allow it to be cycled more times without degradation rate that makes the sonnen Flat more practical that you can use the battery over and over again?
Yes, this is exactly the point. If you were to have a conventional battery system you would probably have a cycle life of about 2800 cycles maximum over ten years. This would not allow you to partake in any program where your battery is used next to home consumption for grid stabilisation or wholesale. We are together with Sony guaranteeing 10000 cycles per kilowatt hour of our lithium-iron-phosphate battery technology, plus our battery technology that is allowing us to have extra to use the battery for extra services when it’s not in use for your own private consumption, which allows you to use these services without downside. So we can actually link our customers units, use them while they are not being used and there will be no disadvantage for our customers. I think this is key aspect.
So you will reward your customers for using their battery more, you’re that confident in the performance of the battery?
Yes, absolutely, there is no risk attached for the customer. He has a guarantee of ten years and 10,000 cycles and he’s having a guarantee for his price.