Complete review of the sonnenCore battery
The sonnenCore battery is one of the newest additions to the solar battery market. sonnen, a German battery manufacturer, is best known for its high-quality luxury home energy storage systems, the sonnen eco and ecoLinx.
sonnen released the sonnenCore as an affordable alternative to its line of existing batteries. Now, sonnen is cost competitive with other affordable home batteries, like the Tesla Powerwall and the LG Chem.
But, what exactly sets the sonnenCore apart from its competitors? In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the sonnenCore’s cost, specifications, advantages, and whether or not it’s worth it for your home.
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What is the sonnenCore battery?
The sonnenCore is a 10 kWh all-in-one lithium-ion battery, specifically a lithium-iron-phosphate battery (LFP).
It is composed of four separate battery modules, aptly named sonnenModules, that are stored within a white cabinet, along with a built-in solar inverter (sonnenInverter) to convert your stored DC solar electricity into usable AC electricity for your home.
Unlike many home battery solutions on the market, the sonnenCore does not contain cobalt. Because its battery chemistry is cobalt-free, there is less hazardous waste produced when the battery is manufactured and disposed of. Plus, it’s 100% recyclable.
This also means that the sonnenCore is safer than some other home battery options. LFP batteries are less likely to experience thermal runaway, or catch on fire. This is because LFP chemistry is more stable at higher temperatures, and is slightly larger in size so these types of batteries aren’t as susceptible to overheating.
How much does the sonnenCore battery cost?
The sonnenCore battery costs $9,500, not including installation, making it comparable to other top energy storage options on the market. The Tesla Powerwall, for example, costs $8,000 before installation, and the LG Chem ranges between $5,000 and $7,000 before installation.
This a substantial price cut compared to the sonnenCore’s predecessors. The eco starts at $10,000, while the 12kWh ecoLinx sells for $36,000! By releasing the sonnenCore at a lower price point, sonnen is now able to expand its reach to the everyday homeowner.
You may be wondering how they were able to drop the overall price - the sonnenCore doesn’t have all of the same features as the eco and the ecoLinx. For instance, the sonnenCore cannot be customized, and it only comes in one size. It also cannot be integrated with an external generator, and doesn’t serve as a smart home hub.
The good news is, when you pair the sonnenCore with solar panels, it can qualify for the 26% federal tax credit. Certain states also offer their own solar battery incentives, like California’s Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP), which will drop the price of the sonnenCore even further.
Key specifications for the sonnenCore battery
|Usable storage capacity||10 kWh|
|Power rating||4.8 kW continuous/8.6 kW peak|
|Depth of discharge||100%|
|Round trip efficiency||>85%|
|Warranty||10 years or 10,000 cycles|
|Dimensions||27 in. x 68 in. x 11 in.|
|Operating modes||Time of use load shifting
Emergency backup power
sonnenCore power capacity
The sonnenCore has a usable capacity of 10 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity. This is about one-third of the average American household’s daily electricity consumption.
It is unclear if multiple sonnenCore batteries can be installed, or stacked, to increase the amount of storage capacity you can have.
sonnenCore power rating
The power rating of a battery will tell you how much electricity it can deliver at a time. Basically, the power rating tells you how many appliances the battery can power at once.
The sonnenCore battery has the ability to send 4.8 kW of continuous power, which is standard for most lithium-ion batteries. With 4.8 kW of power, sonnenCore will power smaller 120-volt appliances like microwaves or mini-fridges, your lights, and electrical outlets.
sonnenCore round trip efficiency
The round trip efficiency tells you how much electricity is used to store the energy in your battery. The sonnenCore has a round trip efficiency of at least 85%. This is standard for lithium-ion energy storage systems.
This means that for every 10 kWh of solar energy you send to the sonnenCore, 8.5 kWh will actually be stored in the battery for your home to use. The other 1.5 kWh was used to actually store the energy in the battery.
The sonnenCore warranty guarantees that the battery will operate at 70% of its original capacity after it goes through 10,000 cycles, or after 10 years, whichever comes first.
This means that after 10,000 cycles, the battery will have a capacity of at least 7 kWh. But, the sonnenCore battery will last beyond 10 years - there is just no guarantee of how fast the capacity will degrade.
sonnenCore depth of discharge
The depth of discharge (DoD) of a battery tells you the amount of electricity that has been released from the battery, compared to the overall battery capacity.
The sonnenCore has a 100% depth of discharge, which means you can use 100% of the energy stored in the battery without harming the battery life.
sonnenCore dimensions and weight
The sonnenCore is 27 inches wide, 68 inches high, 11 inches deep, and weighs 348 pounds. That’s over 100 pounds heavier than the Tesla Powerwall and the LG Chem. When the legs on the bottom of the cabinet are extended, the height increases to 73 inches.
All of this is to say that the sonnenCore is a big battery, so you need to have the space for it in order for it to be installed.
sonnenCore operating modes
The sonnenCore has three main operating modes:
- Time-of-use load shifting allows your battery to adjust when it powers your home based on how much your utility is charging for power during peak hours.
- Solar self-consumption couples with your solar panels to run your home entirely with the clean energy your solar panels produce. Instead of sending excess energy to the grid, you send it to your battery to use after the sun goes down and your solar panels stop producing.
- Emergency backup power mode is exactly what it sounds like - it stores energy in your sonnenCore for use if/when your power goes out.
The sonnenCore automatically switches to emergency backup mode to keep your home running in the event of a power outage. You can also monitor and control your battery’s settings right from your phone using the sonnen app.
Should you choose the sonnenCore battery for your home?
If you’re in the market for a battery storage system, the sonnenCore is definitely worth it for your home.
Although the sonnenCore has a slightly higher price than some other lithium-ion solar batteries on the market, its increased safety can give you peace of mind.
Not only that - its three operating modes let you tailor your battery exactly to your energy needs. You can reach out to sonnen-certified installers to find out if a sonnenCore is available in your area.
Still stuck between the sonnenCore and the Tesla Powerwall? Take a look at a comparison of the two battery systems here.
And if you’re curious about how much a solar-plus-storage system will cost for your specific home, check out our solar calculator! You’ll get a detailed estimate of how much solar will cost (and save!) you by powering your home with renewable solar power.
- The sonnenCore battery is a 10 kWh lithium-ion battery that can be paired with solar panels to power your home with solar 24/7, or be charged from the grid for emergency backup power.
- The sonnenCore costs $9,500 before installation, which is substantially cheaper than other sonnen battery models like the eco and ecoLinx.
- Unlike many lithium-ion batteries, the sonnenCore does not contain hazardous cobalt, making it both safer and more environmentally friendly than other batteries.
- You can choose between 3 different operating modes for your sonnenCore: Time-of-use mode, Solar self-consumption mode, and Emergency backup mode.
- If you are looking to pair your solar panels with a solar battery, the sonnenCore is a great choice.
Author: Catherine Lane | SolarReviews Blog Author
Catherine is a researcher and content specialist at SolarReviews. She has strong interests in issues related to climate and sustainability which led her to pursue a degree in environmental science at Ramapo College of New Jersey.