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Balcony as Power Plant: Maximizing Energy Generation

2023-06-29

Effective Methods for Maximizing Energy Yield

The decision to acquire a balcony power plant at all is the most important step to optimize your own energy costs. However, to optimize the energy yield of the balcony power plant itself, there are tips and tricks that can help. Balcony power plants can be installed or positioned in various locations. You can traditionally attach them to the balcony railing or even mount them vertically on the wall. The choice of location depends on both local conditions and sunlight exposure. In the following, we will help you set up your balcony power plant to achieve the most effective energy generation. Another positive aspect is the partial independence from the continually rising electricity prices. While electricity prices are hardly predictable, the yield of the balcony system remains dependent on seasonal fluctuations.

In addition to optimizing energy costs, balcony systems are an important, albeit small, step towards energy transition and climate/environmental protection. By reducing the demand for external energy, which is still largely fossil-fueled, your own carbon footprint is significantly reduced. Therefore, balcony solar systems provide environmentally friendly electricity generation.

 

The Basics: How Energy Generation Works on Your Balcony

The function of a balcony solar system is remarkably simple. The sunlight captured by the solar modules is converted into direct current (DC) and then converted into alternating current (AC) by the inverter. This AC is then introduced into the household power circuit via the plug connection and can be used normally to operate household appliances.

 

Optimal Alignment and Placement of Solar Modules

To maximize the performance potential of solar technology and achieve optimal energy efficiency, the correct installation location and orientation are crucial. As previously described, you have the option to install on a balcony, flat roof, house wall, or in the garden.

The best yield is achieved when the system is oriented to the south, ensuring that the largest amount of solar energy is captured throughout the day. The optimal installation angle is 30 degrees. However, this orientation may not necessarily be the best for your own needs. Since the angle of sunlight in the morning and evening deviates significantly from the optimal average, consider your time-dependent electricity consumption. For example, if you have the highest electricity consumption in the morning and are not at home during the day, align your system to produce the most electricity at that time.

Note: Many forums suggest that balcony systems above a height of 4 meters require special technical requirements. However, according to the Building Technology Commission of the federal states, this is not correct. The chairman of the commission, Martin Rücker, has stated that balcony systems do not need to comply with the "Technical Building Regulations" as they are not permanently connected to the building and do not represent a building product in the strict sense. However, they must meet the general requirements for safety and order, as well as manufacturer specifications. This exception does not apply to solar systems that do not meet the conditions for a small solar system.

 

Maintenance and Care: Maintaining Your System's Performance

Balcony power plants are inherently low-maintenance. Maintenance usually involves regular inspection of the surfaces of the solar modules, as well as the plug connections and cables. If there are no visible damages in these areas and the electricity output is within your experience range, no action is required.

Before starting the cleaning process, unplug the balcony power plant. This precaution is recommended for all electrical devices. Then conduct a visual inspection of the system for any damages or loose connections. If everything is fine, perform a pre-cleaning. If possible, you can use a garden hose to spray the panels. Then the panels can be cleaned.

A bucket, biodegradable detergent, and a squeegee, preferably with a long handle, are sufficient as cleaning materials. Pay attention to the water quality; if it is particularly hard, rinse the panels with distilled water after cleaning to avoid calcium residues. Calcium residues affect solar penetration and should be avoided if possible. Finally, you can squeegee the panels again, and you're done. Panels mounted on a railing or facade with a 90-degree inclination are self-cleaning, and snow does not accumulate on them due to gravity. Therefore, cleaning is basically not necessary.

 

 

Additional Tips for Even Higher Energy Efficiency

The inverter app allows you to measure the electricity generated by the PV system. The meter is installed if you want to monitor the building's energy consumption. This way, you can always check if your system is working properly.

Much has been said about maintaining the solar system. In addition to cleanliness, seasonal phenomena should also be considered. For example, leaves fall in autumn, snow in winter, and pollen in spring. All of these things can settle on the solar modules and directly affect electricity generation. Therefore, even between regular cleaning intervals, make sure the system is free of shading.

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