Register balcony power plant

  Balcony power plants are becoming increasingly popular these days. They also offer people without their own home the opportunity to save electricity through solar energy. However, there are a number of rules and regulations that must be observed when registering a balcony PV system. We explain how to register a balcony power plant in accordance with regulations and which aspects are important.

Do I have to register a balcony power plant?

Yes. A balcony power plant must be registered, especially in the market master data register and also with the grid operator. If no registration is made in the market master data register, fines may theoretically be imposed. In addition, the grid operator checks whether the electricity meter may need to be replaced upon registration. However, the operation of the mini PV system is not dependent on the approval of the grid operator. How you have to register is determined by the operator.

How do I register my balcony power plant?

Register the balcony power plant with the grid operator:

It is advisable to first register with the grid operator and then with the market master data register. Registering with the grid operator is not complicated: The operator is usually the local municipal utility or energy supplier.   In principle, you do not need a formal letter, but many providers or the German Solar Energy Society offer fillable forms. With some providers, registration is even possible online.

If you do not know your network operator, there are three ways to find out:

No. Registration with the grid operator and in the market master data register is free of charge for you.

Registration only takes a few minutes. All you have to do is fill out the (online) form and enter the required data. Registration in the market master data register will also only take a few minutes.

Register a balcony power plant with the market master data register:

The mini PV system must be registered with the Federal Network Agency within one month.
A few steps are necessary to complete the registration in accordance with the regulations.

You can log back into the program at any time and make changes.

What are the consequences of not registering the balcony power plant?

Failure to register with the network operator usually only results in a reminder letter, so that you can register later. However, due to the high level of self-consumption, grid operators rarely notice that you have not registered your system.
Failure to register in the market master data register is far more serious in this respect. This is because, according to §21 of the Market Master Data Register Ordinance, a three-figure fine is due if you forget to register. It therefore counts as an administrative offense.

Do I have to notify my landlord of a balcony power station?

Before installing a balcony PV system, you should always talk to the landlord, building owner and/or the homeowners’ association. This is usually a mere formality, as it may only prohibit commissioning in exceptional cases. For example, if the building is a listed building. In addition, the balcony power plants must not disturb other tenants or damage the building. Landlords can also demand that the installation be carried out by specialist personnel.
However, these regulations are to be softened somewhat in future.
There are to be new legal regulations on balcony power plants by 2024.

Does the meter need to be replaced?

A second meter is usually not absolutely necessary. Although the Federal Network Agency stipulates that every electricity feed-in and withdrawal must be measured, this is only for information purposes.
The only problem is with older Ferraris meters: These run backwards due to the feed-in. When the balcony power plant is registered, the grid operator ensures that a new meter is installed. The operator may not charge any costs for this, as such services are already included in the annual metering price.

How big can the balcony power plant be?

Only 600 watt power plants are currently permitted in Germany. It all depends on the inverter. So if you buy an 800 watt balcony power station, it usually has a 600 watt inverter – so it’s allowed, because it’s about the power that flows into the socket.
From the beginning of 2024, however, systems up to 800 watts will be permitted, as is already the case in other European countries. Simple registration will no longer be possible for systems with more than 600 watts, as they will then be considered regular solar systems. In this case, you are not allowed to install them yourself and other tax regulations apply.

Rules and regulations for balcony power plants

Balcony power plants are also subject to certain rules and regulations that must be observed.
2-direction meter: If you want to connect a mini PV system to your home, you must install a 2-direction meter if you do not have one. This is exchanged by the grid operator as soon as the power plant is registered. Balcony power plants are often intended for self-consumption; if you consume less electricity than you produce, it is then fed into the public grid.
Plug connection: According to the VDE standard, a special feed socket (Wieland socket) is recommended, but not mandatory. It is considered particularly safe. The regular plug system with Schuko plug is legal and also safe. A balcony power station with a Schuko plug poses no greater risk than one with a Wieland plug.
Notification obligation for self-consumers: As the output of a balcony solar system is less than one kilowatt and they are only intended for self-consumption, the notification obligation does not apply. Normally, operators of a solar installation must regularly comply with their obligation to report on the performance of the installations.
Subsidies: More and more local authorities, districts and individual federal states are subsidizing plug-in solar devices. On average around €200 per system. Suppliers and grid operators are simplifying registration and actively promoting systems so that more and more people are opting for a balcony power plant. However, sometimes these funding conditions are linked to certain requirements. For example, the use of a special feed-in socket, the inspection of the installation by an electrician or the assumption of the costs for a new meter. These points must be implemented if you want to receive the funding without any problems.

In addition, the mini solar systems fall under the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG), which is why they are entitled to a feed-in tariff when they are fed into the grid. However, almost all network operators require you to waive this right when you register. But even if it is only a minimal amount, it is worthwhile for many to receive this remuneration. The consumer centers are therefore calling for the legally regulated remuneration to be paid.

Legal changes for balcony power plants in 2024

The draft law passed by the cabinet clearly shows that balcony power plants will continue to receive more support in the future. If approved by the Bundestag, it will come into force on January 1, 2024.
A simplified registration procedure is already in place for systems up to 600 watts. System operators can submit the application without the signature of a qualified electrician and install it themselves. Other planned measures include

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

It is a mini photovoltaic or solar system that you can plug into your home. Like a normal solar system, it generates electricity using solar energy. It consists of one or more PV modules and an inverter.

In principle, there is none. The balcony power station is much smaller and specially designed for balconies. In Germany, systems of up to 600 watts can currently be operated.

No. The same rights apply as for regular systems of the same capacity. In principle, you also have the same obligations.