Is a balcony power plant worthwhile?

We explain whether a balcony power station is worthwhile. We not only look at the cost benefits, for which we have a separate article, but also at other worthwhile advantages that a solar system offers you. For example, how generating your own electricity helps the environment and makes you less dependent on the power grid.

Advantages of balcony power plants at a glance

How much can I save on electricity costs with a balcony power station?

Not everyone has enough space and money for a large-scale PV (photovoltaic) system on their roof. But maybe you have a balcony, a terrace or a garden. Of course, mini solar systems can also be easily mounted on a pitched or flat roof. Installation is even possible on a façade or on a mobile home.

Acquisition costs

The balcony power stations from Plug the Sunshine are priced at 750 euros for the classic kit with 800 W and 450 euros for the classic kit with 400 W. The ultralight kit with 800 W is available for 999 euros, the ultralight kit with 400 W for 450 euros. Plug the Sunshine balcony power station sets with storage are available from as little as 2,350 euros. Inverter and wattmeter are included in the kit.

Electricity yield

You measure the electricity yield in kWh (kilowatt hours). All PV systems generate direct current, which is converted into alternating current for the household using an inverter. Your mini solar system generates the most power when facing south and at a tilt angle of 35 degrees above the ground. The further the angle deviates, the lower the output (up to 35 percent loss).
800 W balcony power plants from Plug the Sunshine (classic or ultra-light) can generate up to 900 kWh of electricity per year when optimally aligned.

Electricity savings

In addition to the purchase price and yield, the price of electricity also plays a major role. The higher this is, the more money you can save with your own solar power. According to the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW), electricity currently costs an average of 29.9 cents / kWh (as of September 2023).
Divide the purchase price of your solar system by the expected electricity production and you will know the value of one kilowatt hour of self-generated electricity. With balcony power plants from Plug the Sunshine, you can expect to pay around 10 cents / kWh, i.e. two thirds (!) less than the current average price. Our mini solar systems amortize (pay for themselves) in approx. 4 to 5 years. Find out more here.

Which appliances can I supply with electricity from my balcony power station?

How much electricity you save naturally depends on how much you use. To do this, first determine the current consumption of the power sources in W (watts), sometimes it is also given in mA (milliamperes) or A (amperes). It can be found either on the device or in the data sheet. Your sources of consumption should be as economical as possible.

Energy requirement and operating time

LED lamps are more economical than halogen lamps. They shine just as brightly, but consume only a fraction of the power. The consumption of radios etc. depends on the volume. Because the compressor of a refrigerator does not run continuously, the calculation is difficult and depends on many factors: Ambient temperature, cooling temperature, insulation, filling and how long the refrigerator door is open.
Just as important as the power consumption of a power source is the operating time.
It makes a big difference whether it needs to be supplied with power for 30 minutes or three hours. The information on the operating time is included in the calculation of the required energy demand.

Sample calculation: Operating lamps and televisions with a balcony power plant

Once the output and operating times have been determined, the values are calculated separately and then added together. If 2 lamps with 6 W each light up for two hours and 1 lamp with 10 W for 30 minutes and a 12 V TV with 30 W runs for 1 hour, you calculate

All consumption sources together therefore require 59 watt hours.

PV system: self-consumption or full feed-in?

Whether you feed the electricity into the grid or use it yourself makes a big difference.

Solar system for self-consumption

With self-consumption, you use as much of the electricity you produce yourself as possible. You feed the rest into the power grid. Experience shows that you use around 80-90% of the solar power from your balcony power plant yourself, with around 10-20% going into the grid. You save electricity costs above all if you also consume the electricity you produce. Of course, there are no additional charges on your own consumption.
The “surplus” electricity flows directly into the power grid.
Either you waive your right to be remunerated for this electricity feed-in. Many network operators would like this. But in principle, you are allowed to resell the electricity you produce yourself. With a balcony power plant, however, it is rarely worth the effort of registering a business for the few cents.
You have two options for making the best possible use of your solar power. Firstly, by consuming electricity when the sun is shining and your balcony power plant is supplying electricity. Secondly, by saving electricity, especially when the sun is not shining. We have more detailed information on optimization for you in our article on costs.

PV full feed-in

In the case of PV systems with full feed-in, all the electricity is fed into the grid. This is the case if you have large areas with good solar radiation, such as house or barn roofs. Perhaps you have also seen a “solar field” before.
You receive a feed-in tariff per kilowatt hour from the grid operator for the electricity you feed into the grid.
The Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG 2023) regulates the price per kWh. With balcony power plants from Plug the Sunshine, the grid operator pays you a good 8 cents per kilowatt hour. So you earn money with it. Especially for large areas with a lot of sun.
If you use your mini solar system for full feed-in right from the start, you must register this before commissioning.
You must also register a business. You must always notify the grid operator of the full feed-in for the next year before December 1. You can consider every year whether you want to convert the system to self-consumption in the following year, for example if you buy an electric car or a heat pump.

What are the benefits of an electricity storage system?

More independence. The battery storage system stores the energy generated and ensures that the electricity is available around the clock. This means you can also use solar energy at night. A 2.5 kWh storage system from Plug the Sunshine is available from €1,125, the ultra-light sets from 800 W to 2,000 W with storage cost between €2,350 and €4,900, and the classic sets from 800 W to 1,600 W cost between €2,390 and €4,150. Click here for our sets with storage.

Is it possible to achieve electricity self-sufficiency?

Complete self-sufficiency from your electricity provider is unfortunately not possible – advertising messages to this effect are often exaggerated. Unfortunately, the sun does not shine all day. However, experts assume that you can supply around 30 percent of your needs with a PV system .
An example calculation
: If you have an annual electricity consumption of 3,000 kWh and operate a PV system with 5 kWp (kilowatt peak, i.e. maximum output), your system will supply around 35 percent of your needs (degree of self-sufficiency). However, you cannot always consume all of the electricity generated. If you consume a total of 20 percent of the electricity generated, 80 percent flows into the grid.
However, with a balcony power station with storage, which you can already pre-order from us, the degree of self-sufficiency can be increased. If your overall electricity consumption is low, up to 80 percent electricity self-sufficiency is possible with a storage system. For a 4-person household with average electricity consumption, 55 percent can be realized.

Save CO2 with balcony power plants - your important contribution to environmental protection!

The carbon footprint of a balcony power plant depends on various factors, such as the modules, the origin of the electricity, the inverter used and the storage system. With every kilowatt peak per module and year, you save around 500 kg of CO2.
An average household produces around 10.8 tons of CO2 per year from the electricity supply alone, particularly from fossil fuels such as coal-fired electricity. A saving of 330 kg of CO2 through a balcony power plant would therefore correspond to around 3 percent of annual CO₂ emissions. This is not a huge amount, but with every kg less CO2 you are fighting climate change and making an important contribution to environmental protection.