What is a balcony power plant? Functionality, devices, offers
82 2023-11-25

Definition: What is a balcony power plant?

Protect the climate and produce your own green electricity – with a balcony power plant, this is possible for anyone with a balcony or terrace. Balcony power plants are also popularly called plug-in mini-PV systems, plug-in solar systems, plug & play solar systems or mini solar systems. These are small solar systems that usually consist of only one or two solar panels and supply the generated electricity to the household grid through a wall outlet. The generated electricity is usually used for personal consumption and not for sale, given the amount of electricity generated. Another benefit of a solar power plant is the reduction in electricity costs, as own consumption lowers electricity costs.

How does a balcony power plant work?

The operation of a plug-in solar system or balcony power plant is very simple: when the sun’s rays fall on the solar panel, the energy is converted into direct current. An inverter then converts the direct current into alternating current. This is connected via a power cable to the power outlet through which the generated electricity is fed into the household power grid.

For operation according to the standard, this requires a special energy plug-in device.

What are the individual components of a balcony solar power plant?

A balcony power plant usually consists of the four components PV module, inverter, plug and assembly. Optionally, operators can add an electricity meter or upgrade their balcony solar power plant with a battery storage unit. Alternatively, users can opt for complete balcony solar power plant packages, which include both the individual components and a professional installation. The individual components of a solar power system are explained in detail below.

Balcony power plant PV module: The photovoltaic module of the balcony power plant is the most important component of the micro-PV system. A distinction must be made here between the higher-quality monocrystalline solar modules and the cheaper polycrystalline solar modules. The monocrystalline solar panels have a higher efficiency and therefore provide a higher energy yield.

Inverter for mini PV system: The inverter converts the direct current generated by the solar panel into alternating current.

Cable of the balcony power system and plug for power supply: The plug and socket may be different for the balcony power system. For use according to the standard, a mini solar power system requires a special power outlet and a special power plug.

However, experts consider their use to be just as safe, provided that the inverter has a protection device that immediately switches off if there is something wrong with the connection or the grid side electricity supply. This protection is part of the standard equipment of many inverters.

Solar power system balcony mounting: For the highest possible electricity yield, users should mount their balcony plant in an optimal location. For this purpose, stands can be used, in which the solar panel is mounted on an angled frame. The disadvantage of stands is the loss of space on the balcony. An alternative is to use brackets for the outside of the balcony.

Balcony solar system monitoring

Monitoring refers to an electricity meter. This is not absolutely necessary. However, users of a plug-in solar system can measure the amount of electricity generated and thus accurately determine the electricity savings per year and the payback period of the balcony power plant costs. The electricity meter is installed between the inverter and the power outlet.

Balcony power plant with electricity storage

Since balcony power plants are operated practically only for self-sufficiency, excess electricity produced is given away. A balcony power plant with electricity storage can remedy this situation. The electricity produced is then fed into the storage unit and released from it only when it is also consumed at home. Unfortunately, storage technology is not cheap.

What is the maximum wattage of a balcony power plant?

The maximum permissible wattage of a plug-in mini solar power system depends on the conductor cross-section of the existing supply line and on the current carrying capacity of the energy plug (plug and socket).

What does a balcony power plant cost?

At first glance, the cost of a plug-in solar power system seems high and will only pay for itself after a few years. However, the investment should not be considered only in terms of savings. Not to be forgotten are the positive effects of a balcony power plant on the environment, as it helps to reduce the need for fossil fuels, and a balcony power plant is also suitable for tenants, as it can be taken with them when they move.

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