I recently had an opportunity to speak with Blake Richetta, Vice President of Sales for sonnen – the residential energy storage company that began focusing on U.S. markets in 2015. Richetta, who was briefly Tesla’s North American Powerwall sales manager, has an extensive background in lighting controls (working for Lutron for over 15 years), and understands the automated home environment.

Focused on residential markets, and creating energy communities where regulations allow

Sonnen is an interesting company for a number of reasons:

First, the company decided to focus solely on storage in residential markets, and to support solar installations, increasing customers’ ability to self-consume electricity produced on-site. It has no immediate intentions of looking at grid-scale applications or pursuing the on-premise commercial/industrial market.

Second, the company has made significant headway in selling its residential storage systems – and now has 18,000 grid-tied renewable energy storage systems in a half-dozen countries around the world (largely in Europe, with about 12,000 of those in Germany).

Third, and perhaps most unique, sonnen has implemented a novel concept of the ‘energy community,’ in which members buy and sell power from each other – an entirely new way of dealing with electricity.

The markets are not where you’d think they are

Richetta indicated that the strongest U.S. markets for residential storage aren’t necessarily where one would think they might be. Most observers might expect to see robust markets in places that look good on paper, states with high solar penetration or that have made a visible policy or regulatory nod towards batteries, such as California and Hawaii.