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Mini solar system: are the small power plants worth it for the balcony?


Electricity prices are rising, the energy revolution is about to come: many tenants and apartment owners are opting for a balcony power plant. But is the mini solar system worth it?

Electricity prices are rising, the energy revolution is about to come: many tenants and apartment owners are opting for a balcony power plant.

But is the mini solar system worth it?

Munich – What can consumers do to make themselves less dependent on rising electricity prices?

Where technologies such as heat pumps are out of the question, for example in apartments, saving electricity seems to be the only solution.

But more and more tenants are also opting for a balcony power plant.

"Balcony power plants are one of the few opportunities for tenants to actively participate in the energy transition," said a spokeswoman for the Thuringian Housing and Real Estate Association of the

German Press Agency (dpa)


She assumes that the systems will become increasingly popular in the coming years.

However, she also warns: “The amount of electricity produced is minimal and it takes six to 11 years for an investment of this type to pay for itself.”

That speaks for a solar system on the balcony

That speaks against a solar system on the balcony

uncomplicated installation

possibly complicated agreements with landlords

always lower acquisition costs, funding opportunities

Investment only pays off after several years

own contribution to the energy transition

possibly unsightly appearance on the balcony

more independence from electricity prices

Balcony power plants - How does the mini solar system for the apartment work most effectively?

Every tenth new photovoltaic system is now a so-called mini-PV system with a maximum output of 600 watts, as

reported by .

All you need is a vertical surface that catches a lot of sun, such as a balcony railing or the wall of the house: if the right mounting surface is found, the system can supply electricity immediately.

Plug into the socket and electricity flows directly into the electrical devices.

Balcony power plant - mini solar system for the balcony

Balcony power plants are photovoltaic systems that require little space.

They can be installed outside of rental and condominium areas without difficult installation.

They deliver the generated electricity into the house via a socket.

There are grants for this in some states.

Depending on the manufacturer and the type of installation, the acquisition costs are between 500 and 1500 euros.

A single module with an output of 300 watts, mounted vertically on a south-facing balcony, supplies almost 200 kilowatt hours of electricity per year.

Manufacturers promise a guarantee of up to 30 years.


dpa,, Handelsblatt


But there are also bureaucratic hurdles to be faced: In January, the German Environmental Aid warned that many balcony power plants were still being rejected by landlords “for flimsy reasons”.

According to information from the consumer portal,

a refusal by the landlord in court has little validity if the mini-PV systems are installed professionally and do not impair the appearance.

According to,

the mini solar systems must be reported to the Federal Network Agency and the local utility company.

In terms of permits and conditions for installation, however, Germany resembles a patchwork quilt.

Balcony power plant: Electricity from the mini solar systems should be used as soon as possible

If the power source then bubbles, the electricity generated should be used as soon as possible: Because household appliances always first use the electricity they have generated themselves before resorting to other electricity.

As the


recommends, a timer can be used to ensure that the dishwasher washes during the day when the balcony power plant is in the sun.

According to this, a 600-watt balcony power plant should supply around 400 kilowatt hours of electricity per year.

In comparison: A refrigerator with a freezer compartment consumes around 130 to 230 kilowatt hours per year.

And the mini power plants are safe, Volker Quaschning, Professor of Regenerative Energy Systems at the University of Applied Sciences (HTW) in Berlin, is convinced of that.

The maximum power permitted in Germany is 600 watts.

"That's less than a toaster that you connect there," he told the



For safety reasons, it is also not necessary to connect a so-called Wieland socket, which could drive up costs.

A household protective contact plug is sufficient.

Mini photovoltaics: Are balcony power plants and mini solar systems lucrative?



calculates: If the electricity price is 35 cents per kilowatt hour, consumers save around 50 euros a year with a balcony power plant with an output of 300 watts.

It can take up to ten years for the purchase price to be earned.

Whether the balcony power plant pays off quickly also depends on the orientation of the balcony and the actual acquisition costs.


Small "balcony power plant" - mini PV systems do not always have to be attached to the outside of the balcony.

© Stefan Sauer/picture alliance

Since 2023, things have improved for those who are interested: VAT no longer has to be paid on delivery, purchase and installation if the gross nominal output of the system is less than 30 kilowatt hours.

Income from feed-in tariffs also remains tax-free up to this limit.

Anyone who decides to use the generated solar power themselves and only feed the surplus into the public grid gets up to 8.2 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) - 25 percent more than before.

Anyone who feeds all of the electricity they generate into the public grid even gets up to 13 cents per kWh.

Many communities now pay subsidies, for example in Darmstadt.

"The balcony power plant should serve as a 'gateway drug' so that at some point we can switch to a large system," says Patrick Voos from the Climate Protection Office in Darmstadt.

A municipality in Bavaria, on the other hand, sees balcony power plants as a violation of the local statute.


List of rubrics: © Stefan Sauer/picture alliance

Source: merkur

All life articles on 2023-03-28

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