Can I install a solar panel on my balcony and save on the electricity bill?

These are the advantages and disadvantages of the new generation of ultralight photovoltaic panels Self-consumption of electricity is usually associated with the installation of solar panels on the roofs of homes, which is a handicap for those communities of neighbors that do not have this type of surface. Or that they simply do not reach an agreement to jointly produce the energy they need. These obstacles can be overcome thanks to the technological development of photovoltaic solar energy, capable of manufacturing very light and flexible panels adaptable to a greater number of locations. It is only necessary to have a balcony, terrace, wall or pergola where to place them. These are solar panels marketed in kits -include from one to ten units- easy to place and remove. These state-of-the-art panels are made of a type of plastic called EFTE (Ethylene TetraFluoroEthylene), usually weigh around 3 kilos and allow more light to pass through than glass. In addition, they do not require any type of maintenance. The modules are connected to a microinverter that converts the direct current generated into alternating current and, from there, to any socket in the house. No permit or certification One of the advantages of this panel technology is that it does not require any type of permit or certification. Provided, of course, that the owner does not take advantage of the self-consumption modality with surpluses. That is to say, that he wants to pour the energy generated and not consumed into the network. In this case, certification by an authorized installer would be necessary, in addition to registration with a public body and the relevant communication to the electric company. In this way the owner could also qualify for public subsidies. However, it is unlikely -and this is one of the disadvantages of this type of panel compared to traditional ones- that surpluses can be generated. If this circumstance occurs, the excess electricity will be injected directly into the public network and the user will not receive any remuneration for it.

How much can you save?

Although obviously each home has a different consumption, at SolarLab -a company that sells this type of panel- they estimate that it is possible to save up to 40% of electricity consumption. And they give the example of one of their kits -composed of four panels with a power of 800 watts- that can produce “more than 1,100 kilowatt hours of sustainable electricity per year”, which corresponds to the annual consumption of a refrigerator, a dishwasher, a washing machine and a television. If 100% of the energy produced is consumed, the company calculates that the electricity bill could be reduced by more than 400 euros per year. To guarantee greater performance, the panels must be installed in areas where the sun shines at some time of the day, preferably facing south. They can also face east or west, but never north, as their efficiency would be greatly reduced.

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