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A balcony kit for self consumption - is it worth installing?

A balcony kit for self consumption - is it worth installing?

In an environment of rising electricity bills and ever cheaper solar installations, the majority of households are feeling helpless to take advantage of the savings that solar energy offers if they don’t have a big roof available on which to put an expensive solar installation. A balcony kit for self consumption might be a solution for the vast majority of households. In this post we give an overview of the basics.

What is a balcony kit for self consumption?

A balcony kit for self consumption is a solar installation on a balcony whose energy is intended for consumption by the household installing it. This is different from an installation intended for the sale of the energy generated, but on a balcony this is virtually impossible due to the limitations in size, and therefore output, of the installation.

This balcony kit for self consumption is generally composed of solar panels, a micro inverter, cables and the mount needed to install the panels. If a kit is of an output power of 800 W or less, it can be self-installed and doesn't need the intervention of an installer or electrician. These kits also don’t require any modifications of your household’s electricity infrastructure, and are called “plug & play solar kits”. 800 W is the equivalent of the output of 2 conventional solar panels of approx 172 cm x 113 cm of size and 20-25 kg weight each, that can be handled by anybody during an installation. There are bigger, heavier panels on the market that have higher output, but these are complicated to ship and handle and intended for industrial use.

There are also lighter panels, made of different materials, that make a balcony kit for self consumption easier to install, but they tend to be less powerful.

How can I install a balcony kit for self consumption?

A balcony kit for self consumption is generally much easier to install than you might think. The sheer connection of the components requires you to connect 2 cables per panel to the microinverter, and then connect the micro inverter to the next available household plug with a special cable. This can be done in minutes. The more important question is where you can install the solar panels, considering that they need maximal exposure to sunshine, without shade or obstacles, for as long as possible during the day. Take into consideration that the panels of your balcony kit for self consumption create a sail effect if you have wind on your balcony. A safe and robust installation of these panels is very important. Therefore we recommend you select your kit from a professional vendor that can offer you a complete kit with all accessories needed. Also the quality of a kit is a key factor, since you want your balcony kit for self consumption to work for decades and produce free energy for you.

There are safe and robust mounts available that allow you to install solar panels on balcony railings yourself, like our 60° mounts or 90° mounts. Balcony kits for self consumption that use lightweight panels can use simple stainless steel cable binders to solidly fix the panels to a balcony railing. You can see in the video below how easy the installation can be.

How much can I save with a balcony kit for self consumption

An 800 W plug & play solar kit, like the Robinsun Performance 80, can generate up to 1.600 kWh/year in ideal conditions. How much you can generate on your balcony depends on various factors, like orientation of the balcony (south is ideal), angle you can give to your balcony kit for self consumption (30° is ideal, but hard to achieve on a balcony railing), and the sheer amount of unhindered sunshine hours your solar panels get on any given day.

The savings generated by your balcony kit for self-consumption come from the amount of energy these kits generate, and that gets used directly by your household appliances. This is electricity that you will stop buying from your power company. How many kWh/year your kit generates multiplied by the cost per kWh you pay to your power company gives you the yearly savings your kit drives. For example, if your kit produces 1.600 kWh/year, and you pay an average of €0,30/kWh, your yearly savings are €480.

Conclusions

As we described, a balcony kit for self consumption is a very feasible installation that saves you a lot of money. Kits have become extremely cheap. At Robinsun, currently kits start at €449 (VAT and delivery included). A Robinsun Performance 800 starts at €799 (VAT and delivery included). With savings of up to €480/year, you can earn back the cost of your kit in less than 2 years. The solar panels come with a production warranty of 30 years, meaning that after earning back the cost of the kit you will enjoy free solar energy for 28 years!

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