Balcony Photovoltaic: How it Works, Permits and Incentives for 2024


Emma Potter

Balcony photovoltaics, compared to traditional roof-mounted ones, are easier to install and simpler to connect to the electricity grid. In Germany this self-production model is already enjoying enormous success and is starting to spread in our country too.

In Italy the expansion of balcony photovoltaics is favored by the tax deduction of 50% of the costs incurred to install the panels. Furthermore, for connection to the electricity grid, it is sufficient to send the Single Communication to the network distributor, a model prepared by ARERA (Regulation Authority for Energy, Networks and the Environment).

But how do they work, what permits to request and what incentives are available for balcony photovoltaic systems?

Advertisement – Advertising

Balcony Photovoltaics: Plug & Play and Mini-Photovoltaic Systems

When analyzing the functioning of balcony photovoltaics it is important to distinguish two systems:

  • Plug & Play, system usually with power less than or equal to 350 W;
  • mini-photovoltaic, system with power between 350 W and 800 W.

Plug & Play are power storage systems generally not exceeding 350 W, which can be connected directly to consumers’ electrical systems through dedicated power sockets. These systems require their own circuit that starts from the distribution panel, a circuit that should not be connected to any other socket, power strip or household appliance so as not to compromise the electrical system due to any possible overpressure.

Mini-photovoltaic systems are similar to Plug & Play, but with a higher power ranging between 350 W and 800 W. Types of systems generally connected to the electricity grid through a small inverter, the latter with the task of transforming the energy from continuous to alternating.

In the absence of a micro-inverter, specific protections against short circuits and overloads must be provided in the systems. Two similar balcony photovoltaic systems, but with different power.

Advertisement – Advertising

Balcony Photovoltaic: Permits and Procedures

To install a photovoltaic system on a balcony no authorization is needed municipal because these systems fall within the scope of free construction. In principle this is the case, no SCIA or CILA, however it is better to first check the building regulations of the municipality concerned to find out any requirements to be respected.

Therefore, as a rule, the installation of balcony photovoltaic panels follows a fairly simplified procedure, the Single Communication to the network manager is sufficient. To transmit the communication, simply register on the network operator’s portal and carefully follow the provided online procedure.

The Single Communication is required for both Plug & Play and mini-photovoltaic systems. In the case of mini-photovoltaic systems, however, it is necessary to also send the following technical documents to the competent network operator:

  • the final electrical diagram of the production plant, with the indication of the sectioning and general devices, generators, inverters and the procedure for connection to the network;
  • the declaration of conformity of the system to the current regulation;
  • the operating regulations signed directly by the manufacturer.

A procedure slightly more complex than the simple Single Communication required for Plug & Play systems, but still lighter when compared to the documentation required for the installation of traditional rooftop photovoltaic systems.

Advertisement – Advertising

Balcony Photovoltaic: Benefits and 50% Tax Deduction

Greater accessibility for consumers, who can produce clean energy independently, is one of the strengths of balcony photovoltaics. In fact, these are simple kits to assemble, which can be connected to domestic systems and consist of one or more panels.

For Plug & Play systems, as seen previously, an electrical plug with a dedicated socket is sufficient.

Regardless of architectural or landscape constraints, since these installations are included among the ordinary maintenance interventions, the bureaucratic process is much more streamlined than the procedure foreseen for rooftop photovoltaic systems.

At the same time, balcony photovoltaic systems also allow consumers to reduce their electricity bills, with an estimated annual saving of at least 20%.

The costs for balcony photovoltaic kits vary: on average it costs around 700 euros for a Plug & Play system, while around 1,400 euros for a mini-photovoltaic system with up to 800 W of power.

The positive news is that with the installation of these systems it is possible to benefit from a tax deduction of 50%. In order to benefit from the aforementioned tax relief, payments must be made in a traceable manner (example: bank transfers with indication of the reason for the payments) and a communication must be sent to ENEA within 90 days of the end of the interventions.

With the 50% tax relief, the initial investment is recovered within four/five years.

Another advantage of balcony photovoltaics is the possibility of using the energy produced even in the evening hours, i.e. when sunlight is no longer available. This because, matching with a battery the system, there is no need to wait for sunlight to consume the energy produced. The latter can also be used at another time, for example, to cool the house with the air conditioner or to start the washing machines. In other words, with balcony photovoltaic systems, expenses are lightened and family budgets are safeguarded because the benefits are different.