If not all solar power is hooked up to the power grid, where does the generated energy go?



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    Depending on what kind of solar energy you have, the energy is stored in a few different ways. Options differ for homeowners depending on whether they have solar electricity or solar heating.

    For solar electricity, power can be stored in the Grid Inter-tie or in Battery Banks. When you have more than enough energy being produced during the day, your meter will start rolling backwards! When night falls, or you have a few rainy days and your stored energy is needed, your meter will start rolling forward again. That is how the energy is stored on the grid.

    The battery bank is actually part of the grid and is used as a back up for extra storage. It is described as:
    “A group of batteries wired together. The batteries are similar to car batteries, but designed specifically to endure the type of charging and discharging they’ll need to handle in a solar power system.” (www.solar-energy-at-home.com)

    There are three different types of solar heating which include solar space heating, solar water heating and solar pool heating. They each use their own different form of storage but the most common for space heating are “thermal mass” and using water tanks.

    Thermal mass will absorb heat during the day and let it out slowly at night when temperatures drop. The water tank has a heat exchanger which takes heat from the exchanger liquid and puts it into the water tank.

    There is a cap, though. To avoid overloading the machines or storage spaces, there are built in devices that know when the battery (or storage space is full). Very cool stuff.

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