Households Can Save on Energy Costs with DIY Balcony Photovoltaics, Though Some Limitations Apply

Households residing in apartments or houses can now take advantage of cost-saving opportunities by installing photovoltaic systems on their balconies. With equipment readily available for purchase at affordable prices, several thousand crowns can be saved annually using this method.

The return on investment for these installations is influenced by their orientation and the tilt of the panels. Experts from Maycon suggest that a 400-watt system with a south-facing orientation in Brno can generate up to 500 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually, leading to savings of over CZK 3,400 per year at the current electricity rate.

Maycon offers a 400-watt system for CZK 13,000, which means the investment pays for itself in approximately four years. Despite the potential benefits, adoption of balcony photovoltaics remains relatively low in the Czech Republic. Maycon and Datart, the major retailers offering such systems, report only modest sales figures.

One of the key limitations of these DIY installations is the absence of overflow allowance. Households must ensure consistent electricity consumption during production to optimize the system’s benefits. However, this can be achieved by using common household devices such as refrigerators, Wi-Fi routers, and devices in standby mode, which maintain a steady power consumption of 100 to 300 watts in an average household.

To prevent unauthorized supply to the distribution system, companies like Maycon implement a relay that automatically disconnects the photovoltaics when there is no electricity consumption. This ensures that overflow situations are effectively prevented.

For apartment dwellers, the installation process involves obtaining consent from the cooperative or the SVJ and notifying the electricity distributor. In case the combined performance of individual panels exceeds the set limit, a new contract or an addendum with the distributor is necessary. The distributor may also replace the electrometer free of charge if required.

It is important to note that small power plants like these do not qualify for state subsidies, unlike rooftop photovoltaic installations. However, households can invest in a relay for CZK 1,490, which is mandatory if their household consumption does not exceed the installed photovoltaic power.

Installation of the system directly to a socket cable is permissible, but if connected otherwise, an electrician’s assistance becomes necessary. Furthermore, to avoid potential complications, homeowners must duly inform the distributor about their power plant setup.

Operating a power plant without notifying the distributor and sending overflows to the network with an old electrometer could result in incorrect billing. In such cases, the electrometer may record the overflow as consumption, leading to unexpected costs for the homeowner.

In conclusion, balcony photovoltaics present an attractive opportunity for households to save on energy costs. While the setup requires careful consideration of consumption and distributor communication, proper planning and adherence to regulations can lead to substantial long-term savings.

Article by Prague Forum

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