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Published on March 7th, 2018 | by Steve Hanley


Battery Factory News: Sonnen Eyes Australia, Amperex & BYD Look Toward Europe

March 7th, 2018 by  

When it comes to battery factory news, Tesla grabs all the headlines with its ultra-modern Gigafactory 1 in Nevada. But believe it or not, there are other battery manufacturers in the world and they are thinking globally when it comes to where they want to locate their factories.

Sonnen Chooses Adelaide

Sopnen residential storage batterySonnen, one of the world’s leading battery and solar power companies, has announced it will open a battery factory and tech center in Adelaide, South Australia. It currently has a headquarters in Sydney. “We are very excited by the prospect of manufacturing in South Australia for the Australian export markets, and realizing our expectation that Australia will become the world’s number one market for energy storage systems,” Chris Parratt, the company’s managing partner for Australia and New Zealand tells LEAD, a news organization located in South Australia.  Sonnen will take advantage of the port facilities in Adelaide to ship its battery storage products throughout the Asia/Pacifica market.

Despite some grumbling about renewable energy from national leaders, South Australia has become a hot spot for solar activity since last year, when Elon Musk made a bet with local officials that he could install the world’s largest grid storage battery in 100 days or less or it would be free. Musk won the bet and the new facility has been operating flawlessly since it was completed.

Sonnen expects to manufacture and install 50,000 residential storage batteries within 5 years in partnership with the government of South Australia, a plan similar to one Tesla is working on. Those systems will form a “virtual power plant” that can be used to provide power to the grid and protect it from voltage and frequency variations. Renewable energy now accounts for half the electricity consumed in South Australia. That number is expected to rise to 80% in the next 5 years.

For a quick tutorial about how residential energy storage can be used to shift electricity usage to off peak hours, check out this short video from sonnen.

Amperex And BYD Look To Europe

BYD battery storageAmperex is not a household name in North America or Europe, but it is one of  China’s largest battery manufacturers. Hyundai and Kia were forced into a shotgun wedding with Amperex last year after the Chinese government prohibited them from selling cars in China with batteries manufactured in South Korea.

China Plus reports that Amperex plans to build its first battery factory in Europe soon and is considering three as yet unnamed countries for the new facility. Unlike sonnen (yes, the company spells its name with a lower case “s”), which focuses primarily on storage batteries for residential and commercial customers, Amperex is intent on supplying the burgeoning EV market in Europe.

BYD is another Chinese company eyeing the European market. It has plans to build a battery factory in Tangier, which is just a 30-minute ferry ride away from access to European rail routes via Spain. That city is already home to the Mohamed VI Tangier Tech City, a joint Chinese/Moroccan project. While Dumbo Trumpo is busy erecting trade barriers, the Chinese are just as busy establishing trade relations throughout Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Central and South America.

The Trumpster would do well to heed the words of Robert Frost in the poem Mending Wall: “Before I built a wall I’d ask to know what I was walling in or walling out, and to whom I was like to give offence.” Under his guidance, The City On The Hill is in danger of becoming a gated community, cut off from its neighbors and watching the world pass it by. 


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About the Author

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Rhode Island and anywhere else the Singularity may lead him. His motto is, "Life is not measured by how many breaths we take but by the number of moments that take our breath away!" You can follow him on Google + and on Twitter.

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