In a bold move towards achieving the goals outlined in the Paris Agreement—to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius—the German Bundestag has made a significant update to the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG), with the 2024 amendment set to change the landscape of urban renewable energy.

The latest policy now permits the installation of balcony photovoltaic (PV) systems up to 800W, streamlining the process for residents to harness solar energy more effectively. This progressive step not only underscores Germany's commitment to enhance the efficiency of renewable energy utilization but also empowers residents to find and utilize the most beneficial balcony PV equipment, thereby fostering a greener, more sustainable future.

Analyze the latest 800W balcony photovoltaic policy passed by the German Bundestag and find the most effective balcony photovoltaic equipment

The main contents of the latest proposal passed by the Bundestag on balcony PV station

1.Raises Minimum Generation Capacity for Home Power Grids to 800W

The Bundestag has recently voted in favor of a proposal from the VDE to elevate Germany's threshold for the minimum power output of generation plants to 800W. This aligns with the Generator Ordinance (RFG) within the European framework, which prescribes a baseline of 800 watts. Germany's endorsement of this baseline ensures consistency with European standards.

As a result, the capacity for standalone miniature power sources available to consumers has been effectively increased.

This adjustment will broaden the scope of independent mini power supply units that homeowners are permitted to possess, thereby offering increased flexibility and amenity to residents wishing to connect AC power sources of up to 800W to their domestic power grids.

2.Streamlining the Process for Installing Solar Photovoltaic Systems on Balconies:

With the law's last amendment, users installing solar photovoltaic systems on balconies no longer have to submit complex data to the corresponding system operators or network operators or wait for a long time.

You simply need to register in the Federal Network Agency's Market Master Data Registry.

However, it's important to note that compensation for the power supply to the public grid can only be paid after the necessary registration by the network operator. Feeding power to the operator still requires a complete registration process and a smart bi-directional electric meter.

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3. Installation of Balcony Solar Photovoltaics without Bi-directional Electric Meters:

A novelty is the ability to install mini solar PV systems without needing a bi-directional electric meter during debugging. Upon the registration of the system in the Market Master Data Registry, an automatic monitoring system kicks in to check if there's a need to change meters, leaving network and measuring point operators to take all potential further steps independently.

For mini solar PV systems under 800W, the relevant German authorities allow households with only one set of balcony photovoltaic devices to disconnect the bi-directional electric meter. The policy may relieve some absorption pressure for the grid operators, and thus, the German parliament strongly supports energy self-generation and consumption from the solar PV station installed on the balcony.

4.More Precise Capacity Recognition for Balcony Photovoltaics—Calculated per Household, not per Area:

To determine the scale of solar installations, EEG might regard multiple power stations as one PV station under certain conditions. This leads to a situation where newly-installed stations in households are being advised that they are not allowed to increase their station capacity.

After the revision by the Federal Parliament, different grid connection points do not limit the photovoltaic systems. In other words, the systems on neighboring residential buildings will no longer cause one's station to be incorporated into the network. Neighboring households' solar power systems no longer form one larger system, so households wanting to install mini photovoltaic stations on the balcony face fewer restrictions.

A detailed technical description of the VDE:

1. Photovoltaic power stations must pass strict safety tests to ensure the safety of users.

A photovoltaic power station must undergo strict safety tests to ensure user safety.

The safety of balcony photovoltaics has always been the focus of VDE's thorough research and testing. The regulation VDE V 0126-95 concerning the grid-connected operation of plug-in solar devices is already in the discussion stage for its second draft and is expected to be officially released and issued in July 2024.

These regulations are not just for individual devices but also serve as requirements for a complete system. Despite the power of mini photovoltaic stations not being large, it is still necessary to ensure all devices are safe during operation as much as possible.

2.Connection method of plug-in solar devices to household circuits:

The connection of plug-in solar devices, that is, mini photovoltaic systems, needs to comply with DIN VDE 0100-551 and DIN VDE V 0100-551-1's special energy connector devices or permanently connect with the system. But as of now, it still supports schuko plug to connect to household circuits.

It's vital to note that multiple systems should never connect to household outlets through multiple distribution plugs. This can lead to overloaded power lines and subsequently result in a fire.

3.Advocate for self-generation and self-use of electricity:

Using electrical devices and systems while a photovoltaic power station is generating power can increase power consumption. Alternatively, it's recommended to use excess energy for charging energy storage batteries or for charging batteries for electric bicycles, thereby reducing the demand for grid power absorption and greatly reducing household electricity costs.

4.Recommending electricians to connect plug-in photovoltaic systems:

For safety reasons, it is recommended that electricians install the complete system.

To connect a small solar system to the final circuit, we recommend having a qualified electrician with knowledge of building installation and photovoltaic system technology check whether the power line is designed for power supply. Pre-standard DIN VDE V 0100-551-1 (VDE V 0100-551-1) lists the corresponding requirements for cable size, connection type, and protective devices.

It may be necessary to replace the existing fuse. If a fuse not designed for power is used, it might cause overloading and fire. Generally, there is no fire risk during installation according to standards.

If the maximum total output of the plug-in photovoltaic system is 600 watts and connected via an energy connector, there is no need to hire an electrician.

Balcony solar station equipment for the latest German tendency

PV module:

  • Support for series and parallel connection
  • Easy to install
  • The power of photovoltaic panels is not greater than 720W

Micro inverter:

  • AC output is 800W
  • Intelligent monitoring function
  • Real-time power generation monitoring
  • Self-protection function

Energy storage battery:

  • Large capacity can be charged and discharged
  • Self-protection and monitoring functions
  • Intelligent monitoring of home load, intelligent battery energy storage

Mini solar system of 1-2 PV modules

The mini system consists of: 1-2 solar panel + 800W micro-inverter.

For a small power system not exceeding 800W We need to ensure the safety of the power station and as much as possible. In fact, this kind of photovoltaic power station has a long revenue return period.

solar PVsystem

Mini solar system of 2-4 PV modules

For mini solar systems with a PV capacity of more than 800W, energy storage battery device needs to be added to the system. Energy storage solar system can store electricity during the day and use electricity at night. It can also effectively shorten the investment return period of the power station.

Earnings calculation for energy storage batteries

800-1600W solar system + 2kW DC-DC controller + 2.5kW battery + 800W micro-inverter

800-1600W solar system + 2.5kWh DC Coupled Battery + 800W micro-inverter

800-1600W solar system + 2.5kWh DC Battery + Micro Hybrid Inverter

Solar system + 2.5kWh Micro Hybrid All-in-one   

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