is a piece of electrical test equipment used to simulate an electrical load, to test an electric power source without connecting it to its normal operating load.
During testing, adjustment, calibration, or verification procedures, a load bank is connected to the output of a power source, such as an electric generator, battery, servoamplifier or photovoltaic system, in place of its usual load. The load bank presents the source with electrical characteristics similar to its standard operating load, while dissipating the power output that would normally be consumed by it. The power is usually converted to heat by a heavy duty resistor or bank of resistive heating elements in the device, and the heat removed by a forced air or water cooling system. The device usually also includes instruments for metering, load control, and overload protection. Load banks can either be permanently installed at a facility to be connected to a power source when needed, or portable versions can be used for testing power sources such as standby generators and batteries. They are necessary adjuncts to replicate, prove, and verify the real-life demands on critical power systems.
They are also used during operation of intermittent renewable power sources such as windmills to shed excess power that the electric power grid cannot absorb