They are actually a good thing: plug-in photovoltaic (PV) systems, also known as "balcony PV" or "mini PV" systems. They also enable tenants to feed solar energy electricity into the home grid and use the electricity they generate themselves. So why aren't there more of them adorning Germany's balconies?
Because there have been no safety standards up to now. The manufacturers could not agree among themselves on the requirements for operating mini PV systems safely.
This situation has now been rectified. The DKE seized the initiative and invited all the stakeholders to attend a meeting at the end of 2016 to speed up the standardization process and finally get the plug-in PV systems out of the standardization grey-zone.
At a workshop, the DKE "Photovoltaic Solar Energy Systems" committee launched a project to identify the requirements for safe balcony PV systems. In this and other DKE committees, experts from industry, the energy and commercial sectors are now determining what standardization aspects are needed for "safe products", "safe installation" and "safe connectors". The aim is to lay down uniform regulations, first at the national, then at the European and finally at the international level.
"We want the household mini PV systems to be just as safe to plug in as a TV, even without any technical expertise," says VDE standardization expert Dr. Jens Gayko. These will follow the VDE guidelines, "so that knowledge can be turned into efficient and safe applications that safeguard people's standard of living and quality of life"
And so there is now finally some movement on the balconies.