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What Happens to Unused Electricity Generated by Solar Panels

By Benjamin Strusnik March 16, 2022

Most of the world’s major cities and households are turning to sustainable ways to produce electricity. One of the most common and effective energy-producing alternatives are solar generator systems, as they use a renewable energy source to generate power – the sun.

The majority of the world's population has decided to live greener by powering their homes with a solar power system.

Solar panels not only reduce our carbon footprint but also play an important role in curbing the effects caused by the rise in global warming. They also offer us an increase in our financial savings by substantially reducing our monthly utility bills.

Before installing a solar panel, it is important to know its energy output and what happens to the unused or left-over solar power after your home has been sufficiently powered.

Does this extra electricity just disappear, or can it be used elsewhere?

The following guide will address the question of, ‘what happens to excess or unused electricity generated by solar panels for both off-grid and on-grid systems?’

Where Does It All Go?

The efficiency of your solar panel will determine how much sunlight can be converted into electricity.

generated by solar panels on a home the extra electricity is

Most times solar panels will produce the exact energy required to power your household with no excess energy left over. However, there are times when your solar system will end up generating more energy than you require.

The question that remains is what happens to this leftover electricity? Does it simply disappear into the void, or can it be utilized elsewhere?

The good news is that this left-over electricity isn’t lost but can be utilized in different ways depending on whether your solar system is tied into the utility grid.

Utility Grid System

Most solar systems are installed either on-site or off-site and will often be connected to your utility grid. The main priority of the energy produced by your solar system is to power your home's electric loads, such as your kitchen appliances, heating, and other major electronic devices.

If you produce excess energy from your solar power system, which will most likely happen during the long summer days, then your system will feed energy back to the utility grid it is connected to.

Feeding the grid with clean solar energy reduces the load on local electricity, which is a huge benefit for all residents in the area, as this will save money for everyone. Not only that, but other utility customers will be able to use the excess energy you don’t need.

Net Metering

An additional benefit is that your unused solar energy will become bill credits with your utility company that you will be able to use during the winter months or whenever you desire.

the extra electricity generated by home solar panels

This process of feeding excess power back into the grid and acquiring bill credits is called net metering.

Currently, there are 41 states that have put net metering into place, with the other 4 states not yet adopting the policy. Net metering is a great way to make money off solar panels in the form of credit.

The amount of credit you earn through net metering is dependent on the state that you live in. You generally get about 1-kilowatt-hour bill credit for every 1-kilowatt of electricity you send back into the grid. These credits will reduce your overall power bill.

It is important to track how many energy credits you have throughout the year because they can be applied to your January utility bill, saving you some extra cash.

These credits also must be used within a specific time, as they might expire or be reduced in value. Look at it as your solar panel's electric bill that way you won’t forget to use your credit.

Battery Banks

Battery banks are essential for areas that haven’t yet adopted the net metering policy and aren’t able to take full advantage of an over-energized utility grid.

Battery banks are a common way of utilizing the excess energy produced by your solar panel. The excess energy will feed directly into a battery where it will be stored until future use.


What Happens To Unused Electricity Generated By Solar Panel

Most battery banks are used on overcast days or long winters when the lack of sunlight impacts the efficiency of solar energy production.

Most solar systems nowadays come with battery banks included, but some companies require an additional payment for these batteries to be installed.

Nonetheless, battery banks are crucial for states that have long periods without sunshine and cannot utilize the bill credit system.

The additional payment can be pricey, but it is all worth it in the long run, as you can use your stored energy during black-out situations or heavy storms.

Investing in these kinds of extra pieces of equipment increases the cost-effectiveness of your solar panel as they mean that you’ll have access to free electricity for more days of the year.

Conclusion  

Solar panels are excellent clean energy-producing alternatives and a great way to reduce your monthly energy bills leading to long-term financial security. Remember that solar panels pay for themselves and can save you money in the long run.

Solar panels that produce more electricity than you need to power your house are a blessing in two ways. Firstly, your excess energy is not wasted and can be used at a later stage to power your home by using battery banks. This is a great option when weather conditions restrict sunshine.

Secondly, installing solar panels connected to the utility grid can also help your neighbors out by reducing the electricity load, ultimately reducing the cost of their energy bills. Your neighbors will be thanking you for this one.

Remember to always consider the variables that influence the final solar output before deciding on the final placement for your solar panel installation, as you want to make sure that your panel produces an overabundance of energy during the long summer days.

Make sure to keep track of your bill credit tally and always use it within the allocated time to prevent it from being taken away or reduced.

Now that you’re pretty much an expert in all things solar, it’s time to make the switch to renewable solar

energy and do your part in protecting the environment by reducing your carbon footprint, while eliminating your monthly electric bill.

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