FRANKFURT, June 6 German battery maker sonnen
GmbH on Monday said it has secured financial backing from GE
Ventures, General Electric's venture capital subsidiary,
to develop its brand of residential power storage systems.
Sonnen, formerly called Sonnenbatterie, is a start-up which
besides producing storage batteries has also launched a scheme
to connect households with solar panels and other consumers in
Europe's first online energy sharing platform.
GE and existing investors in sonnen had together put up a
double-digit million-euro sum in growth capital for sonnen, it
said in a statement.
"Sonnen is helping to reshape the energy industry," said
Jonathan Pulitzer, managing director at GE Ventures. "We believe
in sonnen's vision and that is why we are excited to partner to
provide clean and affordable energy for all."
Sonnen, whose backers also include German E-Capital and
Czech firm Inven Capital, has to date sold 11,000 lithium
battery units, making it the European market leader in that
segment, said Philipp Schroeder, one of sonnen's managing
He said since the sharing platform, called "sonnenCommunity"
was introduced last November in Germany and Austria, some 1,500
households had signed up for the scheme, which is aimed at
making users independent of conventional suppliers.
He also said that sonnen was growing in the United States
and Italy, where the community scheme would be launched by the
end of 2016.
Battery technology allows usage of clean energy even when
weather conditions are not favourable.
Long seen as expensive, it is moving into a price range
which makes it increasingly affordable to ordinary householders.
Incentives for German solar power producers to feed surplus
supplies into the national grid are set to end in 2021,
providing a reason for them to store more power themselves.
Apart from energy, California-based GE Ventures also invests
in healthcare, software, aviation, transport and appliances.
($1 = 0.8795 euros)
(Reporting by Vera Eckert, editing by Andreas Cremer and