The solar system on the balcony: this is what you should know about the power plant on the balcony

With a solar balcony system, you can convert solar energy into electricity, even as a tenant. This not only saves you money but also drives the energy transition forward. You can find out exactly what the system is all about here.

If you don’t have your own home with enough rooftop space, you probably haven’t considered any single solar system. But you don’t need an entire roof for one or two solar panels. A balcony or wall of the house is enough for such a small solar system. You can also attach the miniature system to your garage or garden shed.

And you don’t need any complicated and expensive equipment in other respects either: the socket and neutral electricity suffice for a microclimate already flowing in your apartment – whether you as the owner or the renter.

How does the solar balcony system work?

Miniature solar systems are becoming more and more popular. And rightly so: you can simply attach the balcony built-in solar systems to a suitable roof. Then you connect the normally supplied plug to your power source via a Schuko socket or a Wieland plug. There is no need for more specialized knowledge, which is why you can usually simply order solar modules online. Installation and use instructions are included with the system.

As a rule, a balcony solar system consists of one or two solar panels. When the sun shines on the units, a direct current is generated. The system converts this into an electrical network, which then flows into the electrical circuit of your home or apartment.

If there is not enough electricity from the system to power household appliances, then normal electricity from your provider also flows into the network.

In theory, electricity from your solar modules could also flow into the public grid. However, in this case, old electricity meters can work “backward”. Therefore, the network operator usually replaces the electricity meter with a more modern one. You can ask the network operator to use a one-way or two-way meter. Only in the second case is an “excess” (very small) calculated in your electricity consumption. There are no exchange costs.

Solar system for the balcony: is it worth?

A balcony solar system is often worthwhile from both a financial and an environmental point of view.
(Photo: CC0/Pixabay/Valli_Photography)

According to Consumer Center, additional solar power systems produce up to 600 watts of connected load; Usually a solar module contains about 300 watts of power. The Consumer Advice Center calculates that this corresponds to about 200 kilowatt-hours (KWh) per year, and other experts come out with slightly higher outputs. 200 kWh is enough to cover the annual consumption of a refrigerator and a washing machine in a house of two people. With an average electricity price of about 34 cents per kilowatt-hour (as of April 2022), you can save around 70 euros per year.

At first glance, this doesn’t seem like much. But the purchase of a solar system for the balcony is also beneficial from a financial point of view: the cost of a standard unit is between 350 and 500 euros. After five to seven years (at current electricity prices), the purchase pays itself and saves money with the electricity produced thereafter. Usually the solar module has a service life of at least 20 years. If you assume that the system only pays off after seven years and lasts 20 years, you can still save about 900 euros. The values ​​increase accordingly when two units are combined.

In some cities, for example in Stuttgart, Erlangen, Friborg and soon also in Leipzig, there are certain support programs for private solar systems. The City of Leipzig would like to promote the purchase of balcony solar systems at a value of €200 per solar module. This would make the system feasible faster and help tenants deal with higher electricity costs. So it is best to find out in your municipality or state if there are already similar funding programs there.

Microsystems are also recommended from an environmental point of view. Ultimately electricity wears out Renewable energy It always contributes a little to the transmission of energy. The more households using solar modules, the greater the measurable impact. According to MDR, only a few years later, the units produced more power than was required to produce them. So they are neutral atmosphere.

Mini Solar Energy Systems: These Are Their Disadvantages

To date, you can buy solar energy systems for balconies only in online stores. Until now, it was hardly possible to look at the units in a hardware store in advance and get advice from the specialist staff on site. However, it cannot be excluded that this may be the case in the future. The more people are interested in private solar systems, the more attractive they are to DIY chains.

Assembly problems can arise if there is no external socket on your balcony or if you decide on a device that requires a special power socket. Then additional costs may arise. Many manufacturers recommend installation by qualified personnel. Some experts consider Wieland plugs to be safer than “regular” Schuko plugs, but installation can result in additional costs.

Before you can install a solar system in your apartment, you must ask permission from the owner. However, the owner can refuse your application only for valid reasons, for example if this affects the structure of the building or significantly changes the appearance of the house.

You should take this into consideration when purchasing and installing

Before buying, make sure the solar system has a plug for normal household sockets.
Before buying, make sure the solar system has a plug for normal household sockets.
(Photo: CC0/Pixabay/Hans)

If you have decided on a solar system for the balcony, then you should pay attention to a few points when buying and installing:

  • Before you buy, make sure that you can actually plug the system directly into your socket and that you don’t need a proprietary power socket. This is detailed in the product description for each system.
  • Some manufacturers also sell plug-free solar power systems. You should also avoid this. Installing sockets yourself can be dangerous without specialized knowledge. If you first have to call an electrician again, there will be additional costs.
  • The Consumer Advice Center recommends making sure when purchasing that manufacturers comply with DGS safety standards.
  • In order to make the best possible use of sunlight, it is best to align the units with the south.
  • The angle at which you connect the boards is also important. A tilt between 20 and 30 degrees is ideal. However, modules are often worthwhile if you attach them vertically.
  • Solar modules can sometimes be very reflective and may annoy your neighbors. Therefore, discuss the installation with them and adjust the position of the panels in case of any complaints.
  • You must now register your solar system with your electricity provider and the Federal Grid Agency. There are special forms on the website or on request that you need to fill out.

Conclusion: Do solar systems have a future?

Solar systems for a balcony or house wall are worthwhile from an environmental and financial point of view if you have been using the modules for a long time and follow a few simple guidelines when purchasing and installing them. Then you can make a small contribution to the energy transition even without a house and a roof and save money at the same time. Given the rising costs of electricity and the challenges of the climate crisis, it can be assumed that the miniature solar system will become more attractive in the future – especially in urban areas.

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