It actually sounds very interesting to mount individual solar modules on the balcony, in the garage, in the garden or on the facade and to feed the electricity directly into the household network. If you can combine five modules, you even have the opportunity to reduce your electricity bill by up to 25 percent. For tenants, apartment owners or those who do not have space for their own modules on the roof, it seems to be a good alternative to the PV system on the roof. They could also produce their own electricity from solar energy.
Is there Plug & Safe for the balcony modules?
But it’s not as easy as it looks. When it comes to electrical equipment, safety is an important factor to protect the health and life of users. There are numerous regulations and standards to ensure safety. As the VDE, the Association for Electrical, Electronic & Information Technologies, reported yesterday, these photovoltaic systems, in which the electricity is simply fed into the domestic circuit (final circuit) via a protective contact plug via the socket, do not comply with the VDE safety regulations.
The protective contact plug gives the user the impression that he can put the PV system into operation himself by simply connecting it to the socket, without incurring the risk of accidents and liability. But plugging an electrical generating device into the socket is not to be compared with plugging in an electrical consumer device and is not permitted according to the safety standard DIN VDE 0100-551 (VDE 0100-551).
Fires due to overloading of the circuit possible, user is liable
When power generators are connected to the socket, existing protective devices in the domestic electrical installation, such as fuses, can no longer fully fulfill their protective function. They do not recognize the current fed back into the socket and cannot react to it properly. For this reason, circuit overload and fire can occur shortly after the PV module is plugged in. In principle, the VDE strongly recommends that users of PV systems always rely on competent persons when installing photovoltaic systems who can guarantee standard-compliant installation of standard-compliant power generation equipment according to VDE safety regulations.
Basically, the connection of power-generating devices on the consumer side is not permitted in Germany, according to a note from the DKE standardization committee. The connection of power generating devices must therefore be made on the supply side of all protective devices of the final circuits. In addition, the plugs must be designed in such a way that they are not live when not plugged in.
With professional and standard-compliant installation according to VDE regulations, photovoltaic systems (PV systems) offer a safe and convenient way to use “self-harvested” electrical energy.
Manufacturer’s safety information
According to the reports in the media and the high-profile report in the film “Living with the Energy Transition”, the impression is given that these modules only have to be plugged into the socket and you’re ready to go.
The website of the manufacturer Sun Invention doesn’t say much else about this either, I can’t find any indication that the modules have to be connected by a specialist installer. There are only rules of conduct for download. These state that no consumers with more than 2,500 watts may be connected, only original plugs may be used and may not be connected to power strips. In addition, the 16 ampere fuse in the feed circuit should be replaced with a 10 ampere fuse and the advice of a specialist should be sought.
The advice of the provider to use an extra circuit for feeding the self-generated electricity into the household network is very important for safety. However, this recommendation should be directly on the website and not just on a pdf file.
In addition, it is recommended to report the operation of the modules to the electricity companies. If the above safety regulations are observed and proven, nothing stands in the way of operation. However, it is not deliberate misinformation that the connection of the modules is not permitted, as this text shows.
If you want to be sure now and get advice from a professional, you need a competent electrician. You can find this, for example, on the new specialist company search for solar energy.