Balkon mit Balkonkraftwerk während dem Sonnenuntergang

Registering for Balcony PV system – All about power, registration and grid feed-in

Bal­cony PV sys­tems are mini solar sys­tems that ten­ants can install them­selves with­out much tech­ni­cal knowl­edge in order to gen­er­ate their own elec­tric­i­ty. Pro­duc­ing your own elec­tric­i­ty has many advan­tages, which is why bal­cony PV sys­tems are increas­ing­ly in demand. But what reg­u­la­tions need to be con­sid­ered before installing and oper­at­ing a bal­cony solar pow­er sys­tem? Is autho­ri­sa­tion from the land­lord or the own­ers’ asso­ci­a­tion nec­es­sary? Do you have to reg­is­ter a bal­conyPV sys­tem, and if so, where? And how many watts can a bal­cony PV sys­tem actu­al­ly have? In this arti­cle, we will answer all these and oth­er ques­tions about legal require­ments and reg­u­la­tions for bal­cony PV systems.

Am I allowed to install a balcony PV system without authorisation?

Before you install a bal­cony PV sys­tem, it is rec­om­mend­ed to first find out whether you need autho­ri­sa­tion. If you live in your own home, autho­ri­sa­tion from oth­er peo­ple or com­pa­nies is of course not required. In the case of a con­do­mini­um, approval from the major­i­ty of all oth­er flat own­ers in the same build­ing is usu­al­ly suf­fi­cient. Do you live in a rent­ed prop­er­ty? Then you should obtain autho­ri­sa­tion from the land­lord or land­la­dy to be on the safe side. You are free to decide how you use rent­ed areas, includ­ing the bal­cony. How­ev­er, you should make sure that the ten­an­cy agree­ment does not explic­it­ly pro­hib­it you from attach­ing things to bal­cony rail­ings and balustrades. For areas such as the façade or com­mu­nal gar­den, you should also con­sult with the build­ing com­mu­ni­ty and land­lord or land­la­dy. There are two rea­sons that can stand in the way of obtain­ing authorisation:

  1. If you install a bal­cony PV sys­tem — no mat­ter how large — with­out autho­ri­sa­tion, you may encounter dif­fi­cul­ties due to the so-called “own­er­ship priv­i­lege”. This applies not only to com­mu­nal areas, but also to pri­vate­ly rent­ed areas. If there is noth­ing in the ten­an­cy agree­ment about the own­er­ship priv­i­lege, it should be pos­si­ble to install a bal­cony PV sys­tem with­out any prob­lems. How­ev­er, pri­or con­sul­ta­tion is recommended.
  2. Grid oper­a­tion and the building’s elec­tri­cal sys­tems must not be impaired by the bal­cony PV sys­tem. How­ev­er, as small bal­cony solar pow­er sys­tem pose no risk of dis­rupt­ing the grid or the elec­tri­cal sys­tem, this should not be a prob­lem either.

Registering balcony PV system: When and where is registration required?

Now that you can install the bal­cony PV sys­tem with (or with­out) autho­ri­sa­tion, the ques­tion aris­es: Do you have to reg­is­ter a bal­cony pow­er sta­tion? The answer is quite sim­ple: Yes. The Fed­er­al Net­work Agency stip­u­lates that bal­cony pow­er plants must be reg­is­tered — with the respec­tive grid oper­a­tor. The same applies to any oth­er device or sys­tem for gen­er­at­ing elec­tric­i­ty. In Ger­many, there is also an oblig­a­tion to reg­is­ter in the mar­ket mas­ter data reg­is­ter. The good news is that reg­is­ter­ing a bal­cony PV sys­tem is free of charge and only takes a few min­utes. The pro­ce­dure goes as follows:

Step 1: Reg­is­ter with the grid operator

Your local grid oper­a­tor is indi­cat­ed on your elec­tric­i­ty bill with a 13-dig­it code num­ber. You can use this num­ber to find the grid oper­a­tor and reg­is­ter your bal­cony pow­er plant there.

Step 2: Reg­is­tra­tion in the mar­ket mas­ter data register

Reg­is­ter­ing with the mar­ket mas­ter data reg­is­ter takes just a few steps. You can find out what these are and which doc­u­ments you should have ready for reg­is­tra­tion in the web help of the Mar­ket Mas­ter Data Reg­is­ter.

How­ev­er, accord­ing to the Fed­er­al Min­istry for Eco­nom­ic Affairs and Cli­mate Pro­tec­tion (BMWK), reg­is­tra­tion is set to become less bureau­crat­ic in the fore­see­able future. At least that is what the pho­to­volta­ic strat­e­gy¹ pub­lished in 2023 says. Accord­ing to this strat­e­gy, the pro­ce­dure is to be sim­pli­fied so that only one reg­is­tra­tion is required (instead of two as is cur­rent­ly the case) or the oblig­a­tion to reg­is­ter is to be can­celled com­plete­ly. Anoth­er planned mea­sure is the inclu­sion of pho­to­voltaics (PV) in the cat­a­logue of priv­i­leged mea­sures in the WEG (Woh­nung­seigen­tümerge­setz) / BGB (Bürg­er­lich­es Geset­zbuch). This would also take away the require­ment to obtain autho­ri­sa­tion from the land­lord for bal­cony PV systems.

How many watts can a balcony PV system have?

In Ger­many, a bal­cony PV sys­tem may feed 600W (watts) of pow­er into the grid. The same applies in Switzer­land. In Aus­tria and Italy, bal­cony PV sys­tems with an out­put of 800 watts are already per­mit­ted. Politi­cians also want to increase the watt lim­it in order to make bal­cony PV sys­tem more attrac­tive and get even more peo­ple involved in the ener­gy tran­si­tion. The plan is to raise the pow­er lim­it to 800 watts in 2024. Accord­ing to the lat­est infor­ma­tion, the vote on this part of Solar Pack­age I, which was pre­sent­ed in 2023, is due to take place on 22 March 2024. The deci­sive fac­tor for com­pli­ance with the watt lim­it is not the out­put of the PV mod­ules, but the feed-in pow­er of the entire bal­cony PV sys­tem. In the vast major­i­ty of cas­es, this val­ue is defined by the out­put pow­er of the invert­er and you have to choose between 600 and 800W.

The sit­u­a­tion is dif­fer­ent with Solarnative’s PV solu­tion: here the con­trol unit, the Intel­li­Gate Bal­cony, takes over the reg­u­la­tion and can be upgrad­ed imme­di­ate­ly via an over-the-air update when the per­mit­ted out­put is increased to 800 watts. This means you can buy a 600W bal­cony pow­er plant with Solar­na­tive micro invert­ers before the increase and still ben­e­fit from it as soon as it is decided.

Solarnative Intelligate Balcony

Do I have to install a Wieland socket?

No, because as a plug-and-play solu­tion, Solar­na­tive bal­cony PV sys­tems come ready to plug in and can sim­ply be con­nect­ed to the pow­er grid with a stan­dard house­hold Schuko plug. The VDE (Asso­ci­a­tion of Ger­man Elec­tri­cal Engi­neers), which is respon­si­ble for the stan­dards relat­ing to bal­cony PV sys­tem, came out in favour of the Schuko plug and fur­ther sim­pli­fi­ca­tions for the oper­a­tion of bal­cony PV sys­tems at the begin­ning of 2023.

How does the grid feed-in work?

Accord­ing to the EEG (Renew­able Ener­gy Sources Act), up to 100% feed-in from bal­cony PV sys­tems is per­mit­ted for sys­tems with 7 kWp. Any­one who feeds solar pow­er into the pub­lic grid can apply for a feed-in tar­iff. The require­ments for a feed-in tar­iff include

  • that the dif­fer­ence between the elec­tric­i­ty fed into the grid and the elec­tric­i­ty drawn from the grid can be record­ed via a bidi­rec­tion­al meter and
  • that the bal­cony PV sys­tem is registered.

The instal­la­tion of a cor­re­spond­ing elec­tric­i­ty meter is often asso­ci­at­ed with addi­tion­al costs. There is also more bureau­cra­cy involved in both reg­is­ter­ing the feed-in and apply­ing for remu­ner­a­tion. How­ev­er, once this has been com­plet­ed, you can start feed­ing elec­tric­i­ty into the pub­lic grid. Then it’s not just the envi­ron­ment that ben­e­fits from your bal­cony PV system…