Generate electricity yourself with a mini solar system

In Zeiten steigender Energiepreise werden Balkonkraftwerke immer attraktiver. Wenn du dich fragst, ob sich die Anschaffung lohnt, findest du hier Infos und Anlaufstellen.

So-called balcony power plants also enable people who cannot install a classic solar system to generate part of their electricity themselves. This is not only worth considering in times of rising energy prices, but also contributes to the energy transition.

If you think about it, get one Mini solar system to purchase, you will find answers to the most important questions about balcony power plants, providers and contact points in this article.

What is a balcony power plant?

Balcony power plants, also known as mini solar systems or plug-in solar systems, are pre-assembled solar modules with an integrated inverter that can be installed and operated without major structural measures. Possible locations include balcony railings, but also small roofs, roof terraces or sunny areas in the garden or courtyard.

In order to put such a mini solar system into operation, it is best (depending on the product and the local regulations) simply connected to the domestic circuit via a conventional socket. However, there are some technical and legal aspects to consider – more on that below.

How much does a balcony power plant cost?

Small solar modules are already available for a few hundred euros. There are usually additional costs for accessories and commissioning. Acquisition costs of between 500 and 1000 euros can therefore currently be expected, depending on the desired size.

In some cities and regions, balcony power plants are subsidized with public funds. It is best to find out before you buy (e.g. via the funding database of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection) whether you can claim funding and what requirements must be met for this.

Tip: If buying a mini solar system is not worthwhile for you, you can alternatively contribute to the use of more renewable energies by switching to real green electricity.

How much electricity can be generated with a balcony power plant?

The amount of electricity that you can generate yourself with a small solar system depends on the performance of the device and the solar radiation at the installation site. The best yield can be achieved with a south orientation without any shadows.

Balcony power plants are currently allowed to deliver a maximum output of 600 watts. Under optimal conditions, one kilowatt hour of electricity per watt of the solar module can be expected per year. In the best-case scenario, a system with a rated output of 600 watts delivers around 600 kilowatt hours a year – but only if the electricity can also be used at the same time, for example by switching on dishwashers and similar appliances preferably in the light hours.

For comparison: The average annual electricity consumption of a four-person household is around 4,000 kilowatt hours. With an electricity price of currently 37 cents per kilowatt hour (as of 2022), around 220 euros in electricity costs can be saved per year.

What regulations apply to balcony power plants?

In order to operate a balcony power plant safely and in accordance with the legal regulations, in addition to an approved device and storm-proof installation, a number of other measures and accessories are required, which may also have to be procured.

Necessary technology for the operation of a balcony power plant:

  • Inverter: converts the electricity generated into grid-compliant alternating current (usually already integrated in pre-assembled balcony power plants)
  • Electronic Counter with backstop: prevents the electricity meter from running backwards when feeding in from the balcony power plant; is installed by the network operator when registering the balcony power plant
  • Permanent connection (e.g. by converting an outside socket) or Wieland connector for feeding in the electricity: provides greater security compared to a conventional Schuko plug; must be installed by a qualified electrician
  • attachment or mounting frame for the secure attachment of the solar modules to the balcony parapet, the wall or on a roof

Instead of individual components, however, complete sets are also available from many suppliers.

There is also a legal obligation to register the mini solar system before it is put into operation:

Providers and contact points for balcony power plants

If you are thinking about buying a mini solar system, the following contact points will help you with more detailed information, FAQs and the opportunity to ask individual questions:

Tip: A green roof can also be a sensible measure to do something good for nature.

In our book you will find numerous other ideas on how to make your everyday life more sustainable:

Do you already have experience with or interest in a balcony power plant? Then tell us about your experiences or ask your questions in a comment below this post!

More eco-friendly ideas:

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