Sigenergy Battery: If It Lives Up To The Claims – It’ll Be Amazing

sigenergy inverter and battery

*Updated 18/3/24: Errors corrected based on Sigenergy feedback

In the rapidly evolving world of renewable energy and storage, we have often seen products that spark a lot of interest, but turn out to be a flash in the pan. So, you’ll have to forgive my scepticism when a brand-new company puts out a well-orchestrated media release, rave reviews and a showy launch bringing yet more new products to a crowded market.

Sigenergy is certainly making noise, announcing a new range of all-singing, all-dancing, all-in-one energy solutions.

With a focus on integrating artificial intelligence (AI) into its equipment, Sigenergy is pushing the boundaries of technology and innovation, shaping the future of how we manage energy… and how we consume hyperbole.

In this post, I’ll examine the details of Sigenergy’s entry to the Australian market, and some of the reportedly exceptional features. I’ll also outline a few points that reflect some necessary SolarQuotes scepticism.

Sigenergy Introduces SigenStor

Released internationally in May 2023, the SigenStor is a five-in-one energy system that integrates solar, energy storage, and bi-directional electric vehicle charging, all managed intelligently using AI. This system suggests a significant leap forward in energy management, providing users with a seamless way to harness and use renewables.

Sigenergy Got Off On The Right Foot

Sigenergy’s Australian debut was at the 2023 All Energy conference, and since then it has signed up around 40 pilot sites across Australia. These initial steps, taken even before the new products were listed on the Clean Energy Council (CEC) registry, show a proactive approach.

Local Agents Are Already Being Wooed

Sigenergy is also partnering with local distributors and engaging directly with customers, making sure its new lineup is presented to everyone it can find in the industry.

Four distributors have already visited Shanghai to meet the team and visit the company’s headquarters and manufacturing facilities.

Sigenergy’s Dizzying Speed of Development

Under the leadership of founder and CEO Tony Xu, Sigenergy has sprung up in just 18 months. Xu has a wealth of experience, from leading global companies such as Huawei and building up a large AI business.

infographic about Tony Xu

What does SigenStor Bring To The Table?

I’ve broken down some of the key features Sigenergy is spruiking here, but you can find more details (for homeowners and installers) in their pdf brochures, available for download here.

Pronounced ‘Sig-Energy’, the company offering is called ‘SI-Gen-Stor’. I can envisage the Australian abbreviation will just be SI Gen…

The Basic Specifications

  • Single phase models in 5kW, 6kW, 8kW and 10kW AC ratings, with two, three or four MPPT solar inputs;
  • 3 phase models in 5kW, 10kW, 15kW, and 25kW AC ratings, with two, three or four MPPT solar inputs;
  • Standard grid-connect inverter functionality, battery ready with optional hybrid firmware upgrade (for a fee);
  • When installed as a battery hybrid, a gateway is available for full home backup;
  • Off-grid capable (Note that I’ve never met a transformer-less hybrid that I would be comfortable using in all but the most modest applications);
  • IP66 weather rating;
  • 5kWh and 8kWh battery packs, stackable to six units high, and up to 48kWh (plus further parallel capacity); and
  • Solar PV with up to four input channels and 200% overdrive capacity.

The Artificially Intelligent App

  • System information is polled every ten seconds;
  • Customers can instruct the app using AI chat;
  • Installers can access fleet monitoring; and
  • Troubleshooting and support is also supposedly AI enhanced.

The Batteries

  • Unique 32V 280Ah blocks using LiFePO4 chemistry;
  • Very detailed monitoring, so nerds can see individual cell voltages via the app;
  • Internal fire extinguisher (SolarEdge also offers this feature, quietly);
  • DC-to-DC charger built into every module, allowing for system architecture that ramps voltage up into the 300V to 900V range; and
  • Batteries are connected in parallel similar to solar micro inverters.

On these last two points, parallel-connected batteries offer redundancy, so no single failure disables the whole battery. On the other hand, it’s another layer of electronics, which means extra complexity.

The detailed cell monitoring through the app means nerds can see individual cell temperatures. It’s a level of refinement that isn’t standard for home storage, although it’s often available for EVs, through more specialist diagnostic hardware.

sigen battery

What appears to be nine prismatic cells per block.

The Battery Warranty Isn’t Revolutionary

Happily, SigenStor warranty documents aren’t hard to come by, and they pretty much follow the industry standard of warranting 70% usable battery capacity for ten years, or 23.77MWh throughput from a nominal 7.8kWh battery.

The throughput limit of one full cycle per day equates to eight years and four months. For comparison, that’s better than an Alpha ESS or about the same as a Fronius BYD, but not as impressive as Sungrow’s 11.5 years

Unlike some, Sigenergy does at least offer five years’ warranty if your internet connection has failed for a significant amount of time. Although they specify a maximum running temperature of 55°C or 60°C the batteries also come with a functional heat mat built into the bottom of each module to allow for operation when installed in conditions as low as minus 20°C or minus 30°C

Sigenergy documents call for a maximum of 55°C and minimum of 20°C in order to be able to test the battery against the warranty. This would mean you can’t put it outside in much of temperate southern Australia, nor can it go outside if you’re within 500metres of the coast. As always the bottom line is that expensive equipment should be protected from the weather.

Unlike many competitors, WiFi and wired connectivity is covered under the main 10 year warranty. An optional 4g dongle is available, however just like some competitors, two years’ warranty for this accessory is disappointing, especially seeing as the communication module is supposed to maintain the internet connection, to ensure your ten-year battery warranty is maintained.

sigenergy warranty table

Screen-grab from the SigenStor warranty document.

What’s impressive about SigenStor?

Some other features I’m genuinely impressed by include:

  • A DC solar bus allows simultaneous charging of batteries and vehicles, while running AC loads at full capacity;
  • Generator integration for off-grid situations (although, knowing how generally troublesome generators are in off-grid installs, I find this option adorably optimistic);
  • Patented ‘zero-millisecond’ load-side switchover for a true UPS experience;
  • V2X ready for bi-directional EV charging (however, V2X standards are still being discussed, so this depends on regulatory approval);
  • DC EV fast charging at 12.5kW or 25kW capacity, integrated with solar and energy storage
  • Open APIs for integration with virtual power plants;
  • AC EV charging at 7kW, 11kW or 22kW with dynamic control (I’m calling bullsh!t on claims of 15-minute EV charger installation);
  • Multi-layer battery safety protection, including the on board fire extinguisher;
  • Simplified and speedy installation processes using stackable battery connections;
  • 3 phase units can run synchronous machines or an unbalanced supply — full nameplate capacity is available to meet single phase surge loads, ie, 10kW 3 phase isn’t restricted to 3.5kW per phase.
  • The integrated DC isolator is behind a readily removable cover meaning it’s compliant.
  • The rest of the cabling is also covered and quite neat.
  • Quick fit battery handles are included and have a locking mechanism to keep them safe.

Standards and Compliance

Sigenergy tells us it has engaged TÜV for compliance testing, and is on track to have its single phase product CEC-listed in February, with the 3 phase product expected to follow in March. Revised AS4777 standards, which cover the bidirectional car charging function, are yet to be finalised, but Sigenergy is already making contributions to the public consultation.

Coupled with rigorous in-house product testing and validation processes, hopefully this underscores Sigenergy’s commitment to reliability and safety.

Taking Shots From The Cheap Seats

Without laying my hands on these units I can only rely on company videos, but as anyone can appreciate, the training material for any product rarely encompasses all the difficulties an installer can face in the wild. I have to make a few sober points:

  • There are seldom perfect smooth concrete walls and level floors available.
  • Having a cardboard template for drilling the wall is brilliant. The only thing better would be not having to drill two holes for every single battery.
  • Though there is adjustment in the brackets, brick or stone walls are likely to be awkward, especially if they have steps at the bottom.
  • Plasterboard garage walls will need reinforcement with formply for structure, as well as (in many cases) cement sheet for compliance.
  • Sigenergy claims installation is simplified by omitting some fixings in the video, but with 9 fiddly 5mm screws per battery including all brackets, plus side panels and plugs for decorative lights, it can’t be described overall as simple.
  • Batteries are modular and retro-scalable, however at 55kg or 70kg each they really need two people for handling.
  • Though there are many inputs, a maximum input current of 16amps isn’t enough to parallel any modern solar panels.
  • The 3 phase units have nominal battery voltage listed as 600VDC to 900VDC. Despite this voltage being cleverly contained in the assembled package, my understanding is that without successful revision of AS4777, it may render them non-compliant, just like the current generation of SolarEdge 3 phase hybrids.1
  • DC charging for EVs is specified at 150VDC to 1000VDC, which again hinges on adoption of the new AS4777. This is expected as a formality because internationally EV makers are moving to 800volt nominal battery systems.

    solar battery inverter mid installation process

    This nameless mid installation picture shows of how real world conditions are a shambles. Floors need adjustable feet (red) Walls are seldom flat and  almost never take screws in the perfect place (blue)

In Conclusion

It looks like Sigenergy is not just making generic 5kW boxes; it’s offering a good deal more versatility, with options for both AC and DC coupling, on-grid or fully off-grid installations, and significant storage capacity potential. This makes its products suitable for a wide range of residential and commercial applications.

If SigenStor does what it says on the tin, and the business proves a commitment to quality and support, then Sigenergy is set to lead the charge for all-in-one residential solar battery units.

Let’s all just hope SigenStor performs a lot better than the last all in one box I did the training for.

Footnotes

  1. SolarEdge released a product that was compliant with the latest AS5033.2021 where solar arrays were allowed to go over 600VDC in domestic situations, however because AS4777 wasn’t harmonised, these inverters couldn’t be used with a battery as promised at point of sale. SolarEdge have been exchanging them
About Anthony Bennett

Anthony joined the SolarQuotes team in 2022. He’s a licensed electrician, builder, roofer and solar installer who for 14 years did jobs all over SA - residential, commercial, on-grid and off-grid. A true enthusiast with a skillset the typical solar installer might not have, his blogs are typically deep dives that draw on his decades of experience in the industry to educate and entertain. Read Anthony's full bio.

Comments

  1. Glen Morris says

    I’ve just completed commissioning a 336 kWh / 70 kW SigenStor system off-grid with generator only (solar will come later). The team installed the seven stacks of 48 kWh batteries plus inverters in less than half a day.

    I have one running my Lab for the past few months without a hitch. My sparky said it was the easiest system she’s ever installed for me.

    Just a few points to clarify from your excellent article Anthony:

    * you don’t need to use a bracket on every battery
    * the lifting handles clip on/off in seconds without a tool
    * the side panels are clip on with one securing screw
    * the d.c. isolator is behind a clip off panel
    * I believe Sigenergy have a solution to the 600 V max. problem

    I genuinely believe this company will be a disruptive force in the solar/battery industry. The SigenStor is the iPhone of the hybrid/off-grid battery market. Easy to install, can be scaled from kWh to MWh by paralleling units, great aesthics, customer focused app is one of the best I’ve seen, with the associated Gateway device can use grid/generator/battery for whole of house backup, and priced below it’s premium competitors.

    PS. Check out my videos of the product on my YouTube channel “SmartEnergyLab”

    • Glen, Do you have any insights on local access to APIs through Modbus etc ? Whilst they might do a great job with AI i am sure there will be bits missing and would prefer to control my own power flows within my house.

      Craig

      • Glen Morris says

        Hi Craig, I just checked with Sigenergy, and yes they do have a very flexible open API

        • Anthony Bennett says

          Thanks Glen,

          Open APIs are going to be priceless moving forward. It’s something I reckon should be perfectly common, a point of pride, if it isn’t made law.

          (cough Enphase cough)

        • Thanks Glen – much appreciated.

          Will follow these guys closely as we are thinking of selling up and moving to a new house early next year

          Craig

          • Hi Craig

            I’m the MD for Sigenergy, thanks for your interest.

            We have a very open and flexible API. Feel free to email me to discuss further when you are ready to consider – [email protected]

    • Erik Christiansen says

      Their simple stacking looks a lot easier than my recent Victron/Fronius install. The prewired wall assembly weighed a quarter of a tonne, and we used my engine hoist to put it up. That was a bit of a challenge. However, with two PV inverters, two battery inverters, two MPPTs, and three battery banks, the fault tolerance is substantial.

      Sigenergy’s high power DC EV charging is very attractive. I can only do 6.5 kW, but could push up to 4 times that from panels & inverters (here in summer weather) if the EVSE would. Nearly two hours to recharge a 65 km trip to town is perfectly adequate here, but a multi-EV household would need multiple EV chargers or a fast one.

      • Hi Eric, i’m the MD of Sigenergy – thanks for your interest

        One of the things we focused on when we designed our system is simplicity, and i believe we have come up with the fastest installation and commissioning times for any product in the industry.

        We recently installed a 336kWh off grid system in Melbourne which comprised of 7 stacks of 48kWh (42 x 8kWh battery modules), and the installation took just several hours and the commissioning took less than 5 minutes.

        You can see the install here – https://youtu.be/w8ISwpv5aVk?si=mS2c3UWcZ7vtbmTa

        You can see the commissioning here: https://youtu.be/5cqMGkrwCXA?si=PuCFZD32GQQkWY4A

        Feel free to reach out to me if you would like any more information on our products – [email protected]

  2. dave buckingham says

    Liable to catch fire? How to put out? Price range? where to get?

    • Mark Holmes says

      I’d look at country of manufacture. That said, all could but many don’t. It’s a personal choice.

    • Hi Dave

      We only use the best quality battery cells and have integrated more safety features than any other battery on the market with 5 layers of protection built into each battery module:

      https://youtu.be/NG8DcbXFhQA?si=JCJAt57uBsc6knB-

      1) 7 temperature sensors monitored by AI – if an abnormal thermal event is detected it will shut down the battery module prior to thermal runaway

      2) Aerogel insulated pads between each battery cell to reduce heat transfer and lower internal operating temps

      3) Pressure release valve will open and expel hot gases to prevent a thermal event

      4) High temperature resistance insulated pads attached to inner wall of battery packs to provide better insulation performance

      5) Internal fire extinguisher which neutralizes flammable gas and reduces thermal runaway

      We have priced our systems to be competitively priced compared to other options. if you want to send me an email i can put you in touch with one of our authorised installers that are in your area – [email protected]

      • John Mitchell says

        I think people overestimate the fire risk with LiFePO4. No doubt as a manufacturer you want to reassure consumers and because these things are permanently installed the precautions make sense but I’d be interested to know once you get lots of units in the field if any batteries ever need the extinguisher system?

        • Hi John

          I am unaware of any installations that have required the fire suppression unit to expel.

          Our fire suppression device is triggered by hot gasses when they reach a certain temperature, and an aerosol is emitted to absorb heat and free radicals, preventing a thermal event from occurring.

          Obviously this is the last line of defence and we have multiple other safety measures in place that will trigger prior to the fire suppression system needing to be called upon.

  3. What happens if there is a fault in 5 or 10 years time and the company has disappeared. After all they have only been around for a short amount of time. The other scenario is, they are still around, but you entirely depend on them. If they decide they don’t make and support that model any more, and hence won’t supply any spare parts, you are stuck. It just sounds all so integrated. A bit like the Apple stuff except they have a name and long history.
    I am just sick of having to replace otherwise perfectly working equipment just because a single part has failed and you can’t get it any more. Or you can, but they are so overpriced that it is borderline criminal. Happened to me way too often lately.

    • Moose OMalley says

      >”Or you can, but they are so overpriced that it is borderline criminal. ”

      Yes, this happens with air conditioners, cars, etc.

      With air conditioners, geckos get inside and short out a circuit board, and a replacement board cost $500+ plus installation. Has happened to people I know many times. Why aren’t the air conditioner manufacturers making gecko proof air conditioners ??

      >”What happens if there is a fault in 5 or 10 years time and the company has disappeared.”

      This – and the cost of replacement boards – are what worry me most about modern cars – especially EVs which tend to have automatic opening / closing everything – doors, frunks, charging port caps, etc.

      I wish ICE and EV car manufacturers would use far more open source, far more standard and off the shelf components – and far less proprietary – circuit boards, computers, etc in their cars.

      • So true Moose. Most companies seem to want to pull as much money as possible out of our wallets, instead of focusing on a durable and sustainable easy to repair product that doesn’t end up filling a hole in the ground after a few years. The amount of stuff that broke in our household, just in recent months, is ridiculous.

    • Will Hall says

      Hi Anthony

      Thanks for your article. There were a few bits of info that were incorrect and need amending – have emailed them through to you

      • Anthony Bennett says

        Thanks for the opportunity to review the product Will,

        And thanks for the corrections. We have added some details but I must reiterate we accept no favours from equipment makers, we just offer reviews as we see them and honest advice where we see room for improvement. ie consistent documentation of battery operating temperature.

        Yours is an impressive product so I hope you’ll outline any other features you think are worth mentioning here in the comments.

  4. My concern with all available solutions of this kind, starting with a simple battery for a PV system, is that they never appear to offset the potential savings in grid electricity costs within a reasonable time frame. After a mere 7, maybe 8, years electric components begin to fail, aforemost the storage but also the other complicated electronics. Then you are in for a costly replacement, long before the upfront investment has even amortised. AI, internet, all the monitoring is well and good, if it works. Like most hobbies, this stuff costs a lot of time and money, for little benefit other than the enjoyment of playing with technology.

    • Will Hall says

      Hi Dirk

      it’s true that not everyone can benefit from solar/batteries. It all depends on your energy usage behaviour.

      But for the majority, if they have a system properly designed for their specific needs, and chose good quality product, they can realise huge savings.

  5. Nicholas Reid says

    I”m waiting for a sodium battery system. Cheaper and less flammable!

  6. Glen Morris says

    Hi Nicholas, there are already alternatives to lithium based batteries. Here at the Smart Energy Lab I have a sodium ion battery from Faradion (UK) which will be distributed in Australia by Nation Energie https://www.nationenergie.com/

    Also, I have a WEST supercapactior which has an insane cycle life… your grand children will still be using it.

    Then there’s the Australian developed zinc-bromine flow battery from Redflow. Bromine is a fire retardant… so your battery will put out your house fire!

    Just last week I had my mind blown when visiting a New Zealand startup called ArcActive (https://www.arcactive.com/) who have re-invented the lead-acid battery using a new type of carbon fibre plate that give the battery similar characteristics to lithium-ion but at half the price/kWh, no fire risk, no toxic chemicals, easy to recycle and can be fully discharged without any damage or loss of capacity.

    But wait, there’s more… I have a 9.2 kWh sodium nickel battery who’s electrolyte is molten salt. Can be charged up, cooled down, left for ten years, then turned back on again. Good for those time capsules that require specific power in the future.

    Anyway, I have made numerous videos about most of these… ArcActive and the WEST supercapacitor videos are coming soon to https://youtube.com/@SmartEnergyLab

    • Nicholas Reid says

      Good to know! My next house will be having one of these. Just have to sell the present house first.

      • “Adorably optimistic.”
        Article aside, that phrase has made this builders day (all before 5am). Just yesterday a client/friend was trying to tell me to be more gentle when I meet both her neighbours. They want me to critique their properties after they watched me resolve all the idiotic problems on the current one.
        I’m well known for being blunt, so thanks for that one, Anthony.

        Very interesting piece of kit in the article. I’m looking forward to reading more as the Sigenergy Batteries are used in anger out in the field for a year or so.

        Thanks.

        • Anthony Bennett says

          Hi Ross,

          With enough experience in off grid installs you realise that renewables are great, generators are not. However they are an unavoidable evil in basically all systems if you don’t have the grid for support.

          I’m always fairly diplomatic, until I’m not, but I’m glad you like the turn of phrase.

  7. Hi Anthony

    A few other comments/corrections to your article:

    A more realistic interpretation of the battery warranty would be to consider SOH degradation as this is more likely to happen before the throughput energy limit. Our warranty states that our throughput energy is designed to exactly align with 10 years 70% SOH if the system is running at a 1 day per cycle and SOH degradation is considered. Compared to Sungrows 10 year warranty clause, they only commit to 60% SOH if it’s getting tested on the last day of the 10th year whilst we can commit to 70% SOH. This is because we have the confidence in our battery system and we put alot of work into the batteries long term performance at the design phase.

    Regarding the warranted temperatures, you state that we will only accept a temp range of 20C – 55C which prevents it from being used is some areas of Australia with lower temps. This is incorrect – our warranty document states that “The ambient temperature during the operation of the products shall not fall below -20C or exceed 55C. So our products are suitable for all weather conditions in Australia and shall be warranted.

    The 2 year warranty on the Communication module refers to an optional 4G dongle that comes with a 2 year pre-paid sim card (which is why we offer a 2 year warranty). This is rarely required – the standard wifi dongle which provides communication for most installation scenarios is built into our system and is covered by the standard 10 year warranty.

    You mentioned that 2 holes need to be drilled for every battery. This is incorrect – You only need to secure batteries to the wall if installing more than 3 – which rules out almost all residential installations, meaning that only the inverter needs to be secured to the wall.

    (More comments to follow)

  8. More comments/corrections on the article….

    Regarding your comment on our input current being too low to parallel any modern solar panels – we have carefully designed our system to be compatible with most modern solar panels and it’s unlikely installers will have any issues unless using utility sized modules (>580W). We have very close ties with most major PV module manufacturers and coorporate with them closely on PV module technology evolution and inverter compatibility.

    Regarding your comment on our 3 phase units potentially being non compliant due to the nominal battery voltage being listed as 600VDC to 900VDC, AS?NZS 4777.1:2016 only limits the input DC voltage to <600V. Internal voltages are not considered, so we don't have a problem with potential none compliance here.

    Similarly, we won't have any issues with the specified voltages of our DC EV charger as we discussed – we work very closely with major EV manufacturers to make sure our EV charger is compatible with what's on the market and what is being developed, and we know that the industry will move towards 800V batteries. And we are confident that the new standards will reflect this.

    • John Carrigan says

      Will

      “Regarding your comment on our 3 phase units potentially being non compliant due to the nominal battery voltage being listed as 600VDC to 900VDC, AS/NZS 4777.1:2016 only limits the input DC voltage to <600V."

      This may be ok in regards the battery, but the string having a maximum 600V per AS/NZS4771 cause a major headache for installation for larger houses, e.g myself. I was hoping to install 27kW panels on my roof, but as your 15kW hybrid 3P inverter only has 3 MPPT's with single strings then the most I can get with the 600V restriction is 18kW of panels.

      Even if the 600V is raised to 1000V (which it always should have been) the 3P inverter only has an allowance up to 24kW, a 160% over allowance. I watched several videos where you stated 200% over allowance so was disappointed when this is only relevant to the lower kW 1P inverters, not the 3P inverters.

  9. sonnen EVO. Warranty – 10 years 10000 cycles and 80% SOH. Based on 1 cycle per day it’s over 27 years ))))
    Just saying…..

  10. Hello,

    Has anyone figured out which brand of 280Ah cells SIGENERGY are using? I tend to think EVE, but hard to find any documentation on it.

    Thanks!

  11. Hi Glen

    “I believe Sigenergy have a solution to the 600 V max. problem”

    Can you provide more info on this, as it currently stands the 600V restriction no good for large installs with only 3 MPPT’s for the 15kW hybrid inverter (why this wasn’t 4 the same as the 20 & 25kW inverters I don’t know). I was looking at installing 27kW panels on my roof, but with the 15kW Sigenergy Inverter the maximum I can do is 18kW due to the 600V string restriction.

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