Photovoltaic panels for balconies: operation, price, profitability… What you need to know before installing them

The market for photovoltaic panels in France is experiencing a boom, last year 180,000 households were equipped with them. For those who live in apartments, there are devices to install on balconies. How do they work and are they useful for reducing the amount of your electricity bill? La Dépêche did the calculations.

Those who do not own their house or live in an apartment can attach photovoltaic panels to their balcony. A very popular trend in Germany, where the price of electricity has exploded in recent years, and which is gradually spreading to France as well.

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Where to find it?

From 2022 DIY stores Castorama, Bricot Dépôt, but also Lidl and Ikéa will offer “plug and play” devices that you can install yourself. You don’t have to be a big handyman to put them in place, but it’s better to work together as the panels can weigh up to 30kg. There are many offers on the Internet. It is ideal to trust an independent comparison site before making a purchase.

How do they work?

The principle is simple. Photovoltaic panels, which can measure up to two meters in length and one in width, generate electricity and feed it into the home circuit via a microinverter via a socket. The wifi-connected box then allows you to monitor production in real time, most often on a special application for smartphones.

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How much will it cost?

The whole thing is relatively cheap. You have to count on 200 euros for the first prices, for which quality and performance are not always. And around 1,000 euros for the most powerful and sophisticated device. Please note that these offers are not eligible for government financial assistance, reserved for installations carried out by approved tradesmen.

Is it profitable?

Photovoltaic panels for balconies cover only a small part of domestic consumption and generate moderate savings. They absorb the energy output of the refrigerator or washing machine. That’s one hundred euros less on the annual electricity bill and amortization after about five years.

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