Can Balcony Solar Panels be useful in apartments?
Many renters and apartment owners are feeling at a loss for being unable to take advantage of solar as they don’t have a roof to put their solar power system on.
Solar power at minimum could power USB devices, lighting and television or laptops.
A solar setup is thought to usually require a big budget and a private roof.
But solar panels can be installed on the balcony and be done as DIY. It doesn’t require a solar installer company.
The balcony must be south-facing if you are living in the northern hemisphere.
For safety, it would be ideal to have a supporting structure to the balcony for securely locking the panels in place.
A balcony may be limited in size for some panels. The larger the panel, the lower the price it is per watt.
Panels ranging from 100W or 360W are available but they can be rather bulky and heavy, 175 watts would be optimal. The size of such a panel is 150x70cm, and the weight is 12.5kg.
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SolarPVproduces energy. A means to store that energy as direct current is needed. An inverter converts DC to AC. A battery stores the energy, which should also be connected to the system. A solar panelcharge controller is required for any solar panel array rated 12 watts or higher.
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How much power one can get from a balcony depends on the location and the amount of sunlight the balcony gets.
On cloudy days, there is a decrease of around 20-30% in electricity production.
As the sun continuously moves across the sky, the optimal tilt angle will last not more than 2 hours per day. A real 100W output from a 100-watt panel is rarely produced.
What can be powered
A solar panel covering the balcony is capable of powering equipment of about 400 watts for about 6–7 hours or powering a mid-size house with led bulbs.
With solar panels and a battery on the balcony, you can create a solar-powered charging station for electronic items like laptops, phones, wireless earbuds, a few 12V emergency lights, etc.
The financial payback of the system is pretty long, due to the relatively small solar panel system. Considering the space constraints of a balcony. Solar roof systems have much higher energy production.
A DC system multiplies power production by 1.4 times. Less solar panels are needed and there is no need to buy a DC/AC inverter which can save money as well.