PVplug info portal
on plug-in solar units: www.pvplug.de
The systems have many technical names: Mini solar system, micro solar system, plug-in solar system, mini solar generator, plug-in solar unit, plug-in PV system, plug-in solar generator, micro solar generator, plug-in PV unit, micro solar module. Colloquially, they are also referred to as balcony solar systems, guerrilla PV or balcony modules. What is meant by all these different terms are plug-in solar units with a capacity of less than 600 watts, which can be easily connected to the power socket.
The potential is huge, the application very simple: Plug-in solar units which have their own inverter can feed directly into the domestic electricity grid with a shock-proof plug. The electricity meter will then run more slowly. This is often the only option for tenants and apartment owners who possess no space which will enable them to participate in the energy transition except for their balcony. But the feed-in via the shock-proof plug is not yet standardised. Many network operators therefore answer the application with false statements and threats.
A change to the standard which regulates the easy and safe access of units to the domestic electricity grid, could provide the systems with a huge boost and therefore also the expansion of renewable energy. But the draft submitted by the responsible committee of the German Commission for Electrical, Electronic and Information Technologies (DKE) for the standard DIN VDE 0100-551 has taken the wrong direction: If the draft standard becomes valid unchanged, a separate feed-in circuit will be required in the future, making the commissioning of plug-in solar units considerably more difficult. A separate circuit is unnecessary for a small solar unit, reference to the standard for electrical installations shows: There are reserves that can be safely used for the feed-in.
This is exactly how the European standardisation is regulated. The Netherlands has also been following this model for years. There is a de minimis limit in place there of 500 W/2.25 A for the feed-in of PV electricity into final electric circuits. 200,000 Dutch people have installed their own small systems without incident. There are also similar simplified regulations for feeding from small, distributed systems in Austria (600 VA) and Switzerland (600 W/2.6 A). Less red tape and appropriate safety regulations here create new potential for the expansion of renewable energies. If the DKE, contrary to European standards, wants to require a separate feed-in circuit for the units, this represents a unique hurdle in Europe for the simple operation of small solar units.
If you have any questions about the technical and legal situation of plug-in solar units? Read the FAQ’s: www.pvplug.de/faq/
PVplug is a group that has come together to break down barriers for plug-in solar units, thereby pioneering the urban energy transition. We formed at Intersolar 2016 and have since gained many new members. Since August 2016, PVplug has been a working group of DGS. PVplug brings together the expertise of engineers, scientists, lawyers, energy bloggers, businesspeople, specialised journalists and PR workers all of whom give their time voluntarily.
If you would like to know more and influence the standard process for plug-in solar units, then follow this link to the DGS info portal: www.pvplug.de
The PVplug initiative received the pv magazine award in 2016