With a solar balcony system you can convert solar energy into electricity, even as a tenant. This not only saves you money, but also advances the energy transition. You can find out exactly what the system is all about here.
If you do not have your own home with enough roof space, then you probably have not thought about an individual solar system. But you do not need an entire roof for one or two solar panels. For such a small solar system, a balcony or an indoor wall is enough. You can also connect the mini system to the cab of the vehicle or to a garden shed.
And you do not need any complex and expensive equipment in other respects: just an outlet and climate-neutral electricity is already leaking into your apartment – both landlord and tenant.
How does the solar system of the balcony work?
Mini solar systems are becoming more and more popular. And rightly so: You can simply connect the balcony compact solar systems to a suitable surface. Then connect the usually supplied plug to the power supply via a Schuko socket or Wieland plug. No further specialized knowledge is required, which is why you can usually order solar modules online. Instructions for installation and use are included with the system.
As a rule, a solar balcony system consists of one or two solar panels. When the sun shines on the modules, direct current is generated. The system converts this into electricity, which then flows into the electrical circuit of your house or apartment.
If there is not enough electricity from the system to operate the home appliances, normal electricity from your provider also flows into the grid.
In theory, electricity from your solar modules could also flow to the public grid. In this case, however, it may be that the old electricity meters work “backwards”. Therefore, the grid operator will usually replace the electricity meter with a more modern one. You can ask your network operator if a one- or two-way meter is used. Only in the second case is a “surplus” (usually very small) calculated on your electricity consumption. There is no cost for the exchange.
Solar system for balcony: is it worth it?
According to the customer center, plug-in solar systems produce up to 600 watts of connected load; a solar module usually has about 300 watts of power. The Consumer Counseling Center estimates that this corresponds to about 200 kilowatt hours (KWh) per year, other experts come up with slightly higher results. 200 KWh is enough to cover the annual consumption of a refrigerator and a washing machine in a family of two. With an average price of electricity of about 34 cents per KWh (since April 2022), you can save about 70 euros per year.
At first glance, this does not sound like much. But buying a solar balcony system is also financially worthwhile: a standard module costs between 350 and 500 euros. After five to seven years (at current electricity prices) the purchase pays for itself and you save money with the energy produced afterwards. A solar module usually has a service life of at least 20 years. If you assume that the system is rewarded only after seven years and lasts 20 years, you can still save about 900 euros. Values increase accordingly when you combine two modules.
In some cities, for example in Stuttgart, Erlangen, Freiburg and soon also in Leipzig, there are also certain subsidy programs for private solar systems. The city of Leipzig wants to promote the purchase of solar balcony systems with 200 euros per solar module. This would make the valuable system even faster and help tenants cope with the rising costs of electricity. Therefore it is better to learn in your municipality or state if there are already similar funding programs there.
Mini systems are also recommended from an ecological point of view. Eventually electricity is consumed renewable energies always contribute a little to the energy transition. And the more households use solar modules, the greater the measurable effect. According to MDR, only after a few years, the modules have generated more energy than required for their production. So then they are too neutral climate.
Mini solar systems: These are the disadvantages
So far, you can buy almost only solar balcony systems in online stores. So far, it has hardly been possible to take a look at the modules at a hardware store in advance and get advice from the on-site specialist staff. However, it can not be ruled out that this will happen in the future. The more people are interested in private solar systems, the more attractive they become to DIY chains.
Mounting problems can arise if there is no external outlet on your balcony or if you have decided on a device that requires a separate power outlet. Additional costs may then arise. Many manufacturers recommend installation by qualified personnel. Some experts consider Wieland plugs to be safer than “normal” Schuko plugs, but installation can incur additional costs.
Before installing a solar system in your home, you must seek permission from your landlord. However, landlords can refuse your request only for good reasons, for example if it affects the structure of the building or significantly changes the look of the house.
You need to keep this in mind when buying and installing
If you have decided on a solar balcony system, you should pay attention to a few points when buying and installing:
- Before you buy, make sure you can actually connect the system directly to your outlet and that you do not need a separate power outlet. This is listed in detail in the product description for each system.
- Some manufacturers also sell unplugged solar systems. You should also avoid this. Installing plugs yourself can be dangerous without the knowledge of specialists. If you first have to call an electrician again, there will be additional costs.
- The Consumer Counseling Center recommends that you ensure that manufacturers comply with the DGS safety standard when purchasing.
- To make the most of the sunlight, it is best to line the modules to the south.
- The angle at which you connect the panels also matters. A slope between 20 and 30 degrees is ideal. However, modules are often valuable if you connect them vertically.
- Solar modules can sometimes be very reflective and can annoy your neighbors. Therefore, discuss the installation with them and adjust the position of the panels if there are any complaints.
- You should now register your solar system with your electricity provider and the Federal Grid Agency. There are special forms on the website or upon request that you must complete.
Conclusion: Do solar systems have a future?
Solar systems for the balcony or wall of the house are valuable from an ecological and financial point of view if you use the modules for a long time and follow some simple instructions when buying and installing them. Then you can make a small contribution to the energy transition even without a house and roof and at the same time save money. Given the rising electricity costs and the challenges of the climate crisis, it can be assumed that the mini solar system will become even more attractive in the future – especially in urban areas.
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