sonnen batteries: everything you need to know

Updated

German battery manufacturer sonnen opened its doors in 2010 and quickly became the breakout star of the German energy storage market. 

Their hometown success in Germany led them to enter the U.S. solar battery market in 2015. Since then, sonnen has become one of the most popular brands of batteries to pair with solar panels among homeowners in the U.S., U.K., and Australia.  

Currently, sonnen offers two types of solar batteries: the eco and the ecoLinx. Both come in a variety of sizes, with different specifications. In this blog, we’ll review each of them, outline their pros and cons, and break down each of their prices. 

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    everything you need to know about sonnen batteries

    The sonnen ecoLinx, pictured above, is one of two types of solar batteries offered by sonnen. Image source: CleanTechnica

    sonnen eco vs. ecoLinx: what are they?

    sonnen’s two battery choices, the eco and ecoLinx, are both able to store solar power for you to use later. The difference between the eco and ecoLinx is in what features they offer. 

    sonnen eco

    sonnen’s eco battery has the ability to store clean energy your solar system produces so you can use it later. The eco is made up of several 2.5 kilowatt hour (kWh) lithium iron phosphate battery modules that are installed together within a white ‘cabinet’. This “all-in-one” battery also includes the inverter and charge controller. 

    sonnen eco inside a living room

    The sonnen eco can learn your energy usage behaviors to help you use energy more efficiently. Image source: sonnen

    The eco detects power outages in real-time, so if the grid goes down you automatically take you off-grid and start running on the battery’s power supply. It also has the ability to analyze how you use energy, so it can learn when the best time is for you to be drawing power from the battery versus the grid. 

    The eco comes in seven different sizes, so there is an eco to meet each of your energy storage needs. The following table outlines the specifications for the different sizes of the sonnen eco:

    sonnen eco specifications
    Specification eco 5 eco 7.5 eco 10 eco 12.5 eco 15 eco 17.5 eco 20
    Total storage capacity 5 kWh 7.5 kWh 10 kWh 12.5 kWh 15 kWh 17.5 kWh 20 kWh
    Power rating 3 kW 3.6 kW 7 kW 7 kW 7 kW 7 kW 7 kW
    Depth of discharge 90% 90% 90% 90% 90% 90% 90%
    Round trip efficiency 81.6% 81.6% 81.6% 81.6% 81.6% 81.6% 81.6%
    Weight 394 lbs 447 lbs 543 lbs 596 lbs 724 lbs 777 lbs 830 lbs

    The dimensions for the sonnen eco 5, 7.5, 10, and 12.5 are 26" W x 57" H x 19" D

    The dimensions for the sonnen eco 15, 17.5, and 20 are 26" W x 84" H x 19" D

    The warranty for all versions of the sonnen eco is 10,000 cycles or 10 years.

    sonnen ecoLinx

    You can think of the ecoLinx as the premium version of the eco. ecoLinx has all of the same capabilities as the eco, with some advanced features. 

    Much like the eco, the ecoLinx is composed of multiple 2.0 kWh lithium iron phosphate batteries placed within a black cabinet.

    sonnen ecolinx in a living room

    The sonnen ecoLinx is one of the most high-tech solar batteries you can get. Image source: sonnen

    Besides storing energy, it can be integrated into your smart home automation system; you can effectively manage all of your smart devices from the ecoLinx. 

    This doesn’t just mean asking Alexa for the weather, you can control everything from your lights to your security system. It also allows you to turn off circuits to certain appliances you’re not using, so you can save energy. 

    Speaking of weather, the ecoLinx has the ability to detect when severe weather conditions are approaching thanks to the sonnenProtect software. This way, the battery can start charging itself instead of powering your home, in order to prepare for a power blackout. 

    The ecoLinx comes in seven different sizes, ranging from 12 kWh to 30 kWh. The following table outlines the specifications for the different sizes of the ecoLinx:

    sonnen ecoLinx specifications
    Specification ecoLinx 12 ecoLinx 14 ecoLinx 16 ecoLinx 18 ecoLinx 20 ecoLinx 30
    Total storage capacity 12 kWh 14 kWh 16 kWh 18 kWh 20 kWh 30 kWh
    Power rating 8 kW 8 kW 8 kW 8 kW 8 kW 7 kW
    Depth of discharge 95% 95% 95% 95% 95% 95%
    Round trip efficiency 86% 86% 86% 86% 86% 86%
    Weight 683 lbs 741 lbs 800 lbs 890 lbs 950 lbs 1253 lbs

    The dimensions for the sonnen ecoLinx 12, 14, 16, 18, and 20 are 26" W x 84" H x 19" D

    The dimensions for the sonnen ecoLinx 30 are 52" W x 61" H x 19" D

    The warranty for all versions of the sonnen ecoLinx is 15,000 cycles or 15 years.

    How much do sonnen batteries cost? Are there incentives?

    sonnen’s batteries come with many advanced features plus an included inverter, which puts them at a higher price point. The sonnen eco starts at around $10,000, while the sonnen ecoLinx 12 kWh model sells for $36,000 online. These costs do not include installation, so the total cost for a sonnen battery system could be even higher. 

    You can see why a sonnen is often considered a luxury home battery system. Luckily, there are solar battery incentives throughout the U.S. that can help bring down the costs. 

    When energy storage systems are coupled with solar panels, they can qualify for the 26% federal tax credit. Some states have their own solar battery incentives, as well. The most popular is the Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) in California. 

    What are the pros and cons of sonnen batteries?

    Both the sonnen eco and ecoLinx make great home energy storage systems. However, they do come with their downsides. 

    Pros of sonnen batteries

    Some of the best things about sonnen’s batteries is that they can learn your habits to help you use energy more efficiently. They also get the title of ‘longest lasting battery’ with the ecoLinx’s 15 year lifespan/15,000 cycle warranty, and they get bonus points for operating as a smart home hub. 

    Another benefit is that both the eco and ecoLinx are lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries. Because these batteries don’t contain cobalt, they are less likely to catch fire than some other lithium ion batteries. 

    Cons of sonnen batteries

    The main disadvantage of sonnen batteries is that they are more expensive than other residential energy storage options. When you compare the sonnen eco to the Tesla Powerwall, you get more usable capacity with the Powerwall for almost $3,000 less. 

    sonnen batteries are also very large in size, with the smallest one weighing 394 pounds. 

    The sheer size of these batteries limit where they can be installed. They have a sleek design so they can be easily integrated into your home, however, not everyone wants to put a 400-pound battery in their living room. 

    Are sonnen batteries worth it?

    Whether or not the price of the sonnen battery is worth it is up to you, as it really depends on what you’re looking to get out of your battery system. 

    If you’re trying to save money by installing a solar battery, then a high priced sonnen battery probably isn’t the right storage solution for you. This is especially true if you live in an area with net metering because then your utility acts as your battery - without any extra investment! 

    However, if you live in an area that is prone to grid outages, the convenience and advanced battery technology and energy management system that sonnen offers when the grid is down could make the eco or ecoLinx worth it for you

    If you don’t experience grid outages, but just want to have a source of backup power in case of an emergency, the sonnen battery probably isn’t the best option, simply because the price is so high. 

    sonnen batteries, though pricey, do have some of the best features of any solar battery storage system on the market. They let you increase your home’s solar energy self-consumption, while using smart technology to tailor to your energy needs. 

    If the electric grid in your area is unreliable, or if you’re looking to get the smartest battery for your home, then a sonnen battery could be right for you. Otherwise, you should continue to get quotes from solar installers about what battery will meet your needs.

    Find out how much you can save with solar plus battery storage

    Key takeaways

    • sonnen offers two residential solar batteries: the eco and ecoLinx.
    • The sonnen eco is able to learn your usage habits to increase your home’s energy efficiency, automatically disconnect you from the grid during a power outage, and serve as a smart home hub.
    • The sonnen ecoLinx has the same features as the eco, but has additional advanced features like weather prediction to keep your battery charged in case a storm hits.
    • The sonnen eco starts at about $10,000, while the ecoLinx starts around $36,000.
    • sonnen batteries come at a high price, but offer many advanced features.
     - 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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