‘Balcony Solar’ Seeks To Spread Solar Availability To New Segments

‘Balcony Solar’ Seeks To Spread Solar Availability To New Segments

An abiding issue with higher solar adoption is the need for space. In urban areas, which are already space challanged, it becomes an even bigger issue with the minimum requirement for a rooftop. Many aware and conscientous prospects who live in apartments or have a single floor regret not being able to contribute to the green cause.

All that is set to change now.

At SNEC Shanghai, if we saw Chinese firms latch on to the new possibility with launches, the ‘Balcony Solar’ prospect is already taking root in Europe, and looks set to spread further. Enabled by a combination of high energy prices, massive increase in module power output ratings and microinverters, ‘Balcony Solar’ could be a significant contributor to energy savings for households as early as 2025, estimate many industry watchers.  Besides providing a solar option for people living in apartments, these solar solutions also come with a very simple set up process, even removing the need for expert support at times.

EcoFlow is one firm that has expanded its portable power range to include the option of Balcony solar. The panels in this solution can be attached to your balcony railings or even left standing on a flat terrace or other sun drenched spot. Called the Ecoflow Powerstream , the kit comes with a microinverter, four 100 W flexible solar panels, smart plugs, and the EcoFlow app for monitoring and optimizing energy usage in real time.

Portable Solar

A Portable Solar Offering Seen at RenewX Hyderabad Recently

Buyers have an option of three versions, from zero storage to upto 2 KW storage. There is also an option of two 400 W rigid solar panels. In SNEC, we saw panels with output ratings as high as 670 watts.

According to Ecoflow, the device has a maximum solar power of 800 W and can generate up to 1,039 kWh of electricity per year according to tests in Germany. That number should improve to around 1400 units for a 1kW system in India we estimate.

Ecoflow’s PowerStream has competition from Anker in the US and Europe for now, with many more expected to follow as pricing flexibility remains higher for this niche product.

Besides the high output panels, the key here is the microinverter. The solar panels connect to the microinverter which takes up very little wall space, with the help of a flat cable. Plug the microinverter into a standard wall outlet and the sun’s energy is converted from DC to AC and redirected to your household appliances, with any excess being fed into an EcoFlow Power Station battery. In case of no battery, the microinverter will simply feed all available power into your home.

Priced at a significant premium of upto 20% or more over a roof mounted solar setup, these solar balcony options are not a bad deal and are quite capable of paying back your investment in 5-6 years, or even less, depending on the power cost in your area.

Customers in India should expect to see the earlier solar balconies make an appearance sooner than later, with domestic capacity ramping up, as well as a drop in microinverter prices.

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