icon

Anker MagGo-Doubly Fast in a Snap

Get Yours Now >>
icon

Travel Smart with Curated Kits and Mystery Boxes! Bundle 2 for 20% Off, 3 for 25% Off

Shop Now >>
/
//
Understanding Balcony Solar Power Feed-in Tariffs

Understanding Balcony Solar Power Feed-in Tariffs

The concept of balcony power plants has gained significant traction in recent years, offering apartment dwellers and small-space residents a golden opportunity to contribute to a sustainable future. But how do you benefit financially from such a compact installation? Is there a balcony power plant feed-in tariff?

This post will explore everything you need to know about feed-in tariffs, how they apply specifically to balcony power plants, the process of obtaining these subsidies, and an evaluation of the financial implications. Read on to learn all the insights!

What Is Feed-in Tariffs for Solar Power Systems?

Feed-in tariffs (FITs) is a crucial financial incentive designed to promote the adoption of renewable energy technologies, including solar power. These tariffs guarantee solar power system owners a fixed rate for the electricity they generate and feed back into the public grid.

The feed-in tariff in Germany is established under the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG), which sets the remuneration rates and conditions for compensating the produced green electricity. The EEG is regularly amended to stay aligned with market dynamics and enhance funding efficiency, with the latest update being the EEG 2023.

For solar systems, the feed-in tariff guarantees a fixed payment for 20 years. The rate is secured at the time of installation, so subsequent drops in the tariff rates won’t impact the system. The amount of remuneration is determined by the commissioning date, the system’s size, and the type of feed-in.

Are There Any Feed-in Tariff Subsidies for Balcony Power Plants?

The short answer is yes. In Germany, the feed-in tariff for solar systems, as defined under the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG), applies to all systems up to 100 kWp (kilowatt peak, which measures the nominal output of solar systems).

Balcony power plants fit comfortably within this category as they are small plug-in solar systems equipped with an inverter that initially had a maximum feed-in power of 600 watts (0.6 kWp). Now in 2024, this limit is increased to 800 watts (0.8 kWp). Therefore, owners of a balcony power plant are entitled to the feed-in tariff.

According to the EEG 2023 regulations, effective from February 1st, 2024, the feed-in tariff for solar systems will decrease by 1 percent every six months. Owners of systems up to 10 kWp, including those with balcony power plants, will initially receive 8.1 cents per kWh for partial feed-in and 12.9 cents per kWh for full feed-in. Starting August 1, 2024, the rates will adjust to 8.0 cents and 12.8 cents per kWh respectively.

How to Obtain Feed-in Tariff Subsidies for Solar Power Generation?

Securing feed-in tariff subsidies for your solar power system in Germany requires careful attention to detail to ensure you meet all the necessary criteria and follow the correct steps. Here’s a guide to help you navigate the process:

Analyze Eligibility and Requirements

To qualify for feed-in tariff subsidies for your balcony power plant in Germany, ensure compliance with the following key criteria:

  • System Capacity:From 2024, balcony power plants must not exceed a nominal output capacity of 800 watts.
  • Technical and Safety Standards:Your installation must meet the safety and technical standards set by the Federal Network Agency.
  • Metering:A bidirectional meter or a dedicated feed-in meter is needed to measure the electricity exported to the public grid accurately.
  • Registration: You must register your solar power system with the Market Master Data Register managed by the Federal Network Agency. Additionally, you need to register with your local network operator, who will perform a network compatibility test and verify your meter’s suitability.
  • Reporting and Tax Regulations: You must also ddhere to all reporting deadlines and tax regulations associated with your solar power generation.

Application Process

Now you understand the eligibility and requirements, here’s how you can proceed with the application process for feed-in tariffs:

  • Register with the Federal Network Agency:Begin by registering your balcony power plant with the Federal Network Agency’s Market Master Data Register. This step is essential for officially entering the energy market and tracking your installation.
  • Contact Network Operator: Contact your local network operator to register your system. They will conduct a compatibility test to ensure your setup can integrate safely and smoothly with the local grid. This process will also include verifying whether your electricity meter is appropriate for recording feed-in electricity.
  • Choose an Electricity Supplier: Engage with an electricity supplier who can facilitate the grid connection for your solar system. This supplier will also be responsible for paying you the feed-in tariff for the electricity you generate.

Once your system passes all checks and your documentation is approved, you will receive authorization to start feeding electricity into the grid and to begin receiving the FIT subsidies.

Maintain and Monitor Your Installation

Once your system is up and running, regular maintenance and monitoring are vital to ensure it operates efficiently and continues to meet the eligibility criteria for the feed-in tariff.

  • Routine Inspections:Schedule regular inspections to check for any potential issues with the solar panels, inverter, and other components. This helps in preempting problems that could affect performance.
  • Performance Tracking:Use monitoring tools or apps to track the energy production and consumption patterns of your system. This helps you understand your system’s output and efficiency, ensuring it operates at peak performance.

The Anker SOLIX Balcony Solar Power System (2*RS40B Panel 410W, Micro Inverter 600W/800W, Balcony Brackets), for example, allows you to track both real-time and historical data via the intuitive Anker app. This enables you to monitor your system’s performance closely, adjust settings as needed, and optimize your energy usage to increase efficiency and reduce costs.

  • Reporting:Maintain accurate records of electricity production and FIT income. This is important for financial planning and for any required reporting to energy authorities or tax agencies.

Is it Worth Using the Feed-in Tariff for Balcony Power Plants?

When considering whether to use the feed-in tariff for balcony power plants, a financial analysis reveals some practical limitations. In an ideal scenario, an 800W balcony power plant generates approximately 800 kWh of electricity annually. Optimistically, assume your system can generate a quarter of this amount as excess energy—about 200 kWh—to feed back to the grid. At a feed-in tariff rate of 8.1 cents per kWh (as of now in 2024), your annual earnings would amount to roughly 16 euros.

As we’ve discussed, to legally feed electricity back to the grid, your system must include a bidirectional meter or a separate meter, which can cost upwards of 100 euros. Additionally, the network operator typically charges an annual metering point operation fee of about 20 euros.

Given the modest revenue compared to the upfront and ongoing costs, financially, feeding electricity from a balcony power plant back to the grid is not particularly favorable. Instead, it’s more economically viable to use the electricity generated directly to offset your own energy costs, and potentially invest in a storage system to enhance energy independence and utilization efficiency.

Conclusion

Balcony power plants present a unique opportunity for urban dwellers to engage with renewable energy. In this guide, we’ve explored all the critical aspects about the balcony power plant feed-in tariff, from the specific subsidies to the requirements and process of securing them. However, financial analysis suggests that the most effective use of a balcony power plant is not to feed electricity back into the grid due to the low returns on investment compared to the costs involved.

Instead, maximizing personal use of the generated electricity and incorporating storage solutions offers a more economically and environmentally beneficial strategy. By focusing on enhancing personal energy efficiency and independence, you can make the most out of your balcony power plant and contribute to a more sustainable energy future.

FAQ

What is a balcony solar power system?

A balcony solar power system is a compact solar panel setup designed to fit on apartment balconies or terraces, or flat roofs. It allows residents in urban areas or those with limited roof access to generate their own renewable energy. These systems typically include one or more solar panels, an inverter, and sometimes a battery for energy storage.

Why use the electricity from the balcony power plant first?

Using the electricity generated from your balcony power plant first maximizes your energy savings and enhances your energy independence. By consuming the power you produce, you reduce the amount you need to buy from your utility provider, which is often more expensive than the feed-in tariff compensation for selling it back to the grid. This direct usage also lessens dependency on the grid and lowers your carbon footprint, making it both a cost-effective and environmentally friendly approach.

What Changes Will Happen to Balcony Power Plants from 2024?

Starting in 2024, the maximum output capacity for balcony power plants will be increased from 600 watts to 800 watts, the registration process will be streamlined, and the feed-in tariff rates are scheduled to decrease by 1 percent every half-year.