Australia, For Installers, Renewables, Solar, Storage

Is a balcony the key to harvesting solar?

A quiet revolution is taking place in the heart of Australia’s urban sprawl, with Hoymiles redefining the solar landscape.

The benefits of solar energy have traditionally been reserved for those fortunate enough to have ample rooftop or ground space for large-scale solar installations.

However, Hoymiles is revamping the way solar is conventionally viewed and bringing a clean, renewable power source within reach of those living in apartments and similar spaces.

The key to balcony PV success

Balcony photovoltaic (PV) systems, also known as “mini solar systems”, have been gaining traction in recent years, driven by accessibility and ease of installation.

Unlike rooftop options, these compact and efficient solutions are designed to be easily clipped onto balcony railings, making them a practical and appealing option for apartment residents.

“Balcony solar systems open up a new world of possibilities for property owners who may have been previously excluded from the solar revolution,” Hoymiles Australia Technical Director Freddie Bai told ecogeneration.

“By providing a plug-and-play solution that can be easily installed and moved, we’re empowering more people to take control of their energy future and contribute to a sustainable tomorrow.”

At the heart of Hoymiles’ balcony PV solution is its innovative microinverters, which play a crucial role in maximising the efficiency and performance of these mini solar systems.

Microinverters are an essential component of balcony PV systems, as they convert the direct current (DC) produced by the solar panels into the alternating current (AC) that can be seamlessly integrated into a property’s electrical grid.

Unlike traditional string inverters, which manage the output of multiple panels as a single unit, microinverters work independently, ensuring that each panel operates at its optimal level.

“One of the key advantages of our microinverters is their ability to track the maximum power point (MPP) of each individual solar panel,” Bai said.

“This means that even if one panel is underperforming due to shading or other factors, the rest of the system can continue to operate at peak efficiency, maximising the overall energy output.”

Accessories for single-microinverter solar system: HMS Field Connector and HMS Plug and Play Cable. Image: Hoymiles

Simplicity, reliability, and safety

Hoymiles’ microinverters are designed with the needs of balcony PV users in mind, offering a range of features that simplify the installation process and provide long-term reliability.

“Our newly released FLEX series, also known as HMS cable system, includes flexible accessories for a single microinverter solar system,” Bai said.

“For example, our HMS field connector and HMS plug and play cable are specifically designed for balcony solar systems. Users can simply plug the microinverter directly into a household socket, without the need for complex wiring or professional installation.”

This plug-and-play functionality not only saves time and money but enhances the safety of the system. By eliminating the need for complex wiring, Hoymiles’ microinverters reduce the risk of electrical hazards, providing peace of mind for apartment dwellers.

The microinverters are designed to endure the challenges of daily use, undergoing rigorous testing such as thermal cycling, damp heat, and mechanical stress tests to help ensure long-lasting performance. This durability is crucial for balcony PV systems, which may be exposed to the elements and subject to potential vibrations or movements.

As the demand for balcony PV systems continues to grow, regulatory bodies are taking steps to ensure the safety and quality of these mini solar solutions.

In Germany, for example, the influential VDE (Association of Electrical Engineering Electronics Information Technology) organisation has proposed a new standard that increases the maximum power output for balcony PV systems from 600–800W.

Hoymiles has embraced this new standard, ensuring its microinverters are compliant and compatible with the updated regulations. This alignment not only enhances the safety and reliability of Hoymiles’ balcony PV systems but paves the way for wider adoption across Germany and the rest of Europe.

“The proposed 800W standard is a significant step forward in making solar energy more accessible to apartment dwellers and those with limited outdoor space,” Bai said.

“By aligning our microinverters with this new standard, we’re helping to remove potential barriers and encourage more people to harness the power of the sun, regardless of their living situation.”

Sustainable future within reach

As energy prices continue to rise and the urgency to address climate change becomes increasingly pressing, the appeal of balcony PV systems is set to grow.

Bai said with Hoymiles’ innovative microinverter technology at the forefront, apartment dwellers and those with limited outdoor space can now join the solar revolution and embrace the benefits of clean, renewable energy.

“At Hoymiles, we’re committed to delivering cleaner energy solutions that are accessible to all,” he said.

“Our balcony PV systems are a testament to this mission, empowering more people to take control of their energy future and contribute to a sustainable tomorrow.

“As the world moves towards a more sustainable future, Hoymiles’ balcony PV solutions are poised to play a pivotal role in making solar power accessible to everyone.

“We hope we can help make Australia’s urban landscape greener and cleaner, one balcony at a time.” 

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This article featured in the June edition of ecogeneration. 

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