3rd Ilmenau Solar Party: How to generate your own electricity with balcony power plants

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Th. 02.03.2023
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On Thursday, March 2, 2023, the 3rd Ilmenau Solar Party will take place from 19:00 to 20:30 at the Volkshochschule Ilmenau , Bahnhofstraße 6. In the context of the lecture and discussion evening, you will have the opportunity to learn more about the topic of "balcony power plants" from a group of committed Ilmenau citizens, including students and members of staff of the TU Ilmenau. Participation in the event is free of charge. Due to limited room capacity, registration is required at wattbewerb@umweltkampagnen.de.

The energy crisis and the accompanying interest in increased self-sufficiency has increased acceptance of the energy transition, and photovoltaic expansion is booming. However, there is often a lack of skilled workers or suitable roof space for large systems. So-called balcony power plants are therefore increasingly becoming a topic for tenants, homeowners and companies who want to make a small contribution to the energy transition and reduce their energy costs.

In his presentation at the 3rd Ilmenau Solar Party, Michael Welz, board member of the citizen energy cooperative "BürgerKraft Thüringen eG", will introduce the concept of balcony power plants using a demonstration power plant. These mini solar power plants consist of one or two photovoltaic modules, an inverter and a plug for the household power grid. The installation is uncomplicated: The system is attached to the balcony parapet, for example, the plug is inserted, and when the sun shines, electricity can be drawn directly from the system's own generation. In the meantime, even discounters offer such systems at low prices.

But is the installation really so simple and is the system worthwhile in the long run also financially? Information on this, on the legal conditions for the operation of such systems and the contribution to the energy transition will be conveyed in the event. Following the presentation, there will be an opportunity to ask questions and exchange ideas with other interested parties.

Since April 2022, the city of Ilmenau has been the first city in Thuringia to participate in the nationwide competition "Wattbewerb" which is intended to promote the expansion of photovoltaics (PV). Germany's expansion target of at least 200 gigawatts peak PV capacity by 2030 means about 2400 watts per inhabitant. In the next eight years, Ilmenau, with a currently installed PV capacity of 222 watts per inhabitant, will thus need to increase its capacity tenfold. A group of committed citizens is therefore organizing solar parties to bring the topic to the population and to promote the expansion even with small balcony power plants.

In order to support the city in achieving this goal, a group of committed Ilmenau citizens, including members of the TU Ilmenau, have joined forces and would like to advance the project through various activities. The group's spokesman and TU Ilmenau graduate, Martin Langbecker, is convinced:

"The energy turnaround must now be tackled and implemented with determination. Ilmenau also wants to do its part. Everyone wins through the Watt competition: the city's climate, citizens, the local economy and associations - every additional plant moves us forward in climate protection and reduces our dependence on gas, oil and coal! There are still many areas in Ilmenau, especially on roofs and facades, that can be used for photovoltaics."

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Prof. Jens Wolling Head of Department of Empirical Media Research and Political Communication+49 3677 69-4654jens.wolling@tu-ilmenau.de