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The mini home solar plant at New Energy Husum


An ever increasing number of people are interested in generating and using their own electricity. And the focus here is on mini solar modules with integrated inverter for home use: they fit on the smallest space, are easy to install and are connected to the mains socket. miniJOULE is one of the so-called leading manufacturers of these plug-in modules and is appearing at New Energy Husum.

Plug-in in this sense just means that the device can literally be plugged into the mains without having to install a device driver or configure any settings. Anyone who has a garden or a terrace can generate their own solar power, explains Matthias Grütz, key account manager at miniJOULE. But the plug-in module can also be installed on a garage, gazebo or even on a balcony.

"What? You generate your own electricity in your garden?" Neighbours of Julian Affeldt from Kleinmachnow near Berlin could hardly believe it at first. Affeldt is the owner of two miniJOULE variants. The miniJOULE Island has an integrated battery and he uses it solely for powering his electric cycle. "I ride it to work virtually every day, ten kilometres there and ten kilometres back again", says the physics teacher. A significant portion of the electricity consumption for his home is covered with the aid of his miniJOULE Duo, with a peak capacity of 390 watts. Affeldt is delighted that he has the opportunity to be able to control the power supply for house and mobility himself.

The fact that the power he generates and feeds into the grid really does end up powering his own fridge, PC or washing machine is the result of the Kirchhoff's Current Law. According to this law, the electricity is always primarily consumed nearest to the generation point or feed-in point.

So is this homemade energy transition? In the industry, expressions used in conjunction with these mini solar modules are such as "grid revolution" or "guerrilla PV". This is in fact a grey area, because the die legal situation is complicated, and involves numerous norms, regulations and laws. Experts are however agreed that the operation of plug-in modules is not forbidden.

"Obviously, security must be guaranteed", emphasises Julian Affeldt - in other words: the module must be of a reasonable size to suit the home mains. The makers of the miniJOULE also recommend taking safety precautions, and to bring in an expert if installing more than one module.

Is a mini solar module economical?

Independence from utility companies and increasing electricity prices are the driving forces behind many consumers decision to go for renewable energy. But does such a mini solar module pay off when, depending on the make, prices start at about 400 euros?

Assistance in answering this question is given by the readings taken by the German Association for the Promotion of Solar Power for PV modules with 1000 watts (1 kWp) peak output. In the postcode areas 3000 to 39999 for example, i.e. the area around Hanover, in 2013 such a module supplied an average 871 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity. Calculated for a 195-watt module this would be 185.8 kWh per annum. At an electricity price of 26.5 cents this would mean an annual saving of 49.25 euros, meaning that a module that costs 500 euros would pay for itself in about 10 years. This calculation is however based on electricity prices remaining constant and is more favourable in sunny locations.

Related Exhibition:
New Energy Husum 2015
The Renewable Energy Trade Fair
3/19/2015 - 3/22/2015
Venue: Messe Husum, Husum, Germany

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