Complete review of the sonnenCore battery

Updated

sonnencore battery
The sonnenCore battery can help you power your home entirely with solar. Image source: Twitter

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

The company quietly released the sonnenCore+ in 2022. The sonnenCore has allowed the company to remain competitive with 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 an all-in-one lithium-ion battery. The battery comes in two sizes: 10 kWh and 20 kWh. Each model is composed of individual battery modules stored within a sleek white battery cabinet, along with a built-in inverter to convert 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, and instead uses lithium iron phosphate (LFP) technology. Because the battery packs do not contain cobalt, less hazardous waste is produced while the battery is manufactured, and it’s 100% recyclable.

    This also means the sonnenCore operates more safely than other home storage options, as LFP batteries are less likely to experience thermal runaway (or catch on fire) because they remain stable at higher temperatures.

    How much does the sonnenCore battery cost?

    The first version of the sonnenCore battery cost $9,500 before installation. The new sonnenCore+ models do not have prices listed on sonnen’s website. We can expect the 10 kWh sonnenCore+ to still be somewhere around that $9,500 price point, maybe a bit higher because of recent supply chain issues. As for the 20 kWh model, we can’t say for sure.

    Installation can add an additional $2,000 onto the price, for a ballpark estimate of about $11,500 for the 10 kWh sonnenCore+. This is right in line with other popular batteries. Tesla’s home battery costs $11,500 including installation, while the LG Chem costs about $9,000 with installation.

    The good news is that the sonnenCore+ can qualify for the 30% 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

    Find out which local solar incentives are available in your area

    Key specifications for the sonnenCore battery

    sonnenCore battery specs
    Specification sonnenCore+ 10 kWh (SCORE-P10) sonnenCore+ 20 kWh (SCORE-P20)
    Usable storage capacity 10 kWh 20 kWh
    Number of battery module packs 2 4
    Continuous power rating 4.8 kW 4.8 kW
    Depth of discharge 100% 100%
    Round trip efficiency 85.8% 85.8%
    Warranty 10 years or 10,000 cycles 10 years or 10,000 cycles
    Dimensions 27 in. x 69.5 in. x 14 in. 27 in. x 69.5 in. x 14 in.
    Weight 408 lbs 525 lbs
    Operating modes

    Time of Use
    Solar self-consumption
    Emergency backup power
    Virtual power plant

    Time of Use
    Solar self-consumption
    Emergency backup power
    Virtual power plant

    sonnenCore power capacity

    The sonnenCore+ comes in two models with a capacity of either 10 kWh or 20 kWh. The 10 kWh version can hold about one-third of the average American household’s daily electricity consumption.

    The addition of the 20 kWh sonnenCore model allows homeowners who need a little more storage to go with the sonnen if they so choose.

    sonnenCore continuous 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 85.8%. This is standard for lithium-ion energy storage systems. 

    This means that for every 10 kWh of solar energy you send to the sonnenCore, 8.58 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.

    sonnenCore warranty

    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 10 kWh model will have a capacity of at least 7 kWh, while the 20 kWh model will have a capacity of at least 14 kWh.

    Sonnen also provides something called a “throughput measurement”, which is just an estimate of how much energy you can expect the battery to release over its lifetime based on the warranty. The 10 kWh sonnenCore+ is estimated to release about 90 megawatt-hours of electricity over its lifetime. The 20 kWh model is estimated to provide about 181 megawatt-hours.

    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, 69.5 inches high, 14 inches deep, and weighs between 408 and 525 lbs. 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.
    • Virtual power plant mode allows you to participate in virtual power plant programs that might be offered by your utility, such as the one offered by Rocky Mountain Power in Utah. 

    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. 

    How much can you save annually by switching to solar?

    Key takeaways

    • The sonnenCore+ comes in two sizes, either 10 kWh or 20 kWh, 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 10 kWh sonnenCore is estimated to cost about $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 4 different operating modes for your sonnenCore: Time-of-use mode, Solar self-consumption mode, Emergency backup mode, and virtual power plant mode.
    • If you are looking to pair your solar panels with a solar battery, the sonnenCore is a great choice.
     

     - Author of Solar Reviews

    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.

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