Using your own terrace as an energy source

Due to sharply rising electricity costs, more and more people in Germany are considering installing a solar system on their house to generate green electricity at low cost. In addition to the classic solar systems on the roof, it is also possible to build a solar terrace roof to generate energy with the help of solar. Everything you need to know about a solar terrace can be found in this article.

General information about the solar terrace roof

You rarely hear words like “solar terrace” or “solar patio roof” in the media. So, what exactly does one understand by these words anyway? A solar system, or mostly a photovoltaic system, is capable of converting the energy of the sun, i.e. light and heat energy, into another form of energy. In private households, the energy supplied is often converted into electricity or heat, but other chemical energy can also be generated in this way.

The electricity can often cover the majority of a household’s electricity consumption. The electricity generated by this household is therefore effectively climate-neutral; this is also referred to as green energy. When the solar energy is converted into heat, this can be used to heat the house. The remaining hot water, such as in a shower, is also heated by solar energy. But why not simply place the photovoltaic system or the solar energy system on the roof of the house to generate electricity or heat? This would certainly be easier. Building a terrace roof with an integrated photovoltaic system may be more complicated, but a solar terrace offers many advantages.

Advantages of a solar terrace roof

A first advantage of a solar terrace is the following: in most cases the terrace is oriented to the south in order to be able to enjoy the sun for as long as possible. This is the side of the house where most of the solar energy arrives, which means that solar systems on the terrace roof can work much more effectively and generate even more electricity. The next advantage is protection from the elements. Of course, a roof made of solar or photovoltaic systems is in no way inferior to a “normal” patio roof in terms of protection from the weather. People on the terrace are protected from the sun so that they don’t burn their skin. In addition, it is less windy on the terrace and also the unwanted rain can no longer abruptly interrupt a family celebration. Thanks to the protection from various weather influences, it is still possible to sit outside on the terrace in late summer or autumn and even in spring, which in turn saves electricity in the house, for example through less heating.

Many people shy away from the additional costs of a solar terrace roof. But already a few years after the construction of this roof consisting of solar cells, the investment pays off through the enormous reduction of electricity costs. In the end, you will come out of this investment with a large profit.

In contrast to terrace roofs made of wood or other opaque materials, solar terraces have a high level of light transmission, which means that it always remains nice and bright indoors due to the daylight. This in turn means that less electric light is needed and again electricity can be saved. On the other hand, the solar panels still provide shade, not as much as an opaque fabric, but more than a roof made of glass, for example. This means that people do not need a sunshade under the patio roof as they would with a glass patio roof if they do not want to get burnt. These are the advantages of a solar patio roof, but a solar system itself also offers many advantages.

A sustainable photovoltaic system protects the environment and does not emit unnecessary pollutants. Solar is part of green power generation. In addition, one is less independent of all energy companies, as one is responsible for the energy production oneself. With large systems, enough electricity is normally produced to cover the household’s entire electricity consumption. This means that temporarily higher electricity costs do not hit you hard, and overall enormous amounts of electricity costs are saved. In addition, money can be earned with excess electricity. If the plants produce too much electricity in high summer, the excess electricity is fed into the public grid. The operator or owner of the house receives compensation for this produced electricity. All in all, the construction of a solar system or a solar patio roof is a worthwhile purchase that not only saves money in the long term, but can even earn you money.

To increase the effectiveness even more, the solar systems can be mounted on the patio roof in a space-saving way according to individual ideas.

The advantages of a solar terrace in summary:

  • More independent from rising electricity costs
  • Own green produced electricity
  • Protection from the elements
  • Profitable in the long term
  • Low electricity costs

Disadvantages of a solar patio

Unfortunately, a solar terrace roof also comes with some disadvantages. The biggest is probably the changing weather, or the fluctuating solar radiation. In winter, it is often not enough to use only your own terrace as an energy source. Instead, you need external electricity or heat. At least a little storage can help here. Energy collected during the day can be stored and used overnight, for example for the refrigerator. Unfortunately, a storage unit that can supply the household with energy from the summer throughout the entire winter does not yet exist. Another problem is wear and tear. A small system for the solar terrace costs about 7,000 euros and thus lasts a maximum of 15 years before it has to be renewed or serviced. Nevertheless, the purchase is worthwhile, as after about 10 years the income is equal to the expenses incurred during construction.

If too much electricity is produced by solar and this is fed into the public grid, one receives a fee. But the sold electricity has to be taxed and as soon as this is the case, even the self-used electricity has to be added to the total income, on which taxes are finally due to the tax office.

What has to be considered and how exactly does the construction on the house proceed?

Before the solar patio roof can be built, a few things have to be considered. First of all, the location has to be found. All the technology must first be installed and cables must be laid. Therefore, at this point at the latest, an expert in electronics should be appointed to ensure safety and feasibility. A structural engineer should calculate the maximum load, because snow can also cause problems for such a roof. In addition, you have to consider whether you want to build a pitched roof or a flat roof. A flat roof is often more attractive for a terrace, but a pitched roof with a slope of 30 to 50 degrees towards the south is more effective. If you decide on a flat roof, the orientation does not matter.

Of course, in some cases permission from an authority is required. To be on the safe side, you should ask whether the development plans of the house or similar need to be taken into account for the solar terrace roof.

Using your own terrace as an energy source