Kilowatt Hour vs Kilowatt in a Solar System


If you’re interested in solar energy, you’ve probably been wondering about the difference between kilowatt hour vs. kilowatt. Both are measures of electricity. A system generates the former, and the latter is how much power, on average, an appliance or electronic device uses.

 While they may seem like similar units, they aren’t interchangeable. This article will help you determine exactly how many are in your system. It also demystifies how solar panels save money and whether switching to solar power is worth it.

What is a kilowatt?

A kilowatt is a unit that measures the amount of power generated at a certain instant. If you’re wondering how many watts are in a kilowatt, multiply the kW by 1000 to get the number of watts. To get the difference between megawatts vs. kilowatt, you multiply the kW by 1,000. Home appliances often have a kW mean rating. This shows the amount of power the device constantly requires to function.

Additionally, the term is often present in solar and wind turbine contexts. Ideally, 1 kW of solar panels can generate around 8 kWh per day, while 1 kW of wind turbines can generate up to 35 kWh per day. Thus, the usage of a kilowatt is a relatively widespread unit in the energy industry.

What is a kilowatt-hour?

Electricity meter showing consumption in kWh

Electricity meter showing consumption in kWh

A kilowatt hour (kWh) is a unit of power expended per hour. It’s equivalent to one kilowatt of power the device uses hourly. Many people commonly use this power billing system across the US. For instance, 1 kWh is equivalent to 1,000 watts your appliances consume hourly to show how many watts per kilowatt hour. 

An oven rated 2.5kWh uses 2,500 watts hourly. If you baked a cake for half an hour using this oven, the total power consumption would be 2.5 kilowatts multiplied by ½ an hour. This means baking the cake consumed 1.25 kilowatts or 1250 watts.

Why does the difference matter?

Every person dealing with a power utility distributor should learn the difference between a kilowatt hour vs kilowatt. Such information is integral in understanding how your power provider calculates your bill and how you can lower it and save some coins. By learning the difference between kWh vs kW, you will be able to buy the right solar equipment to handle your power needs. Getting the right capacity solar batteries to match the power production of your PV panels is only possible when you know the relationship between kilowatt hour vs kilowatt.

What determines my electricity cost per kWh on my energy bill?

As you may have noticed, electricity bills vary greatly monthly. This is because the cost of electricity depends on several factors:

  • The price of electricity in your area. Your local utility company often sets electricity prices that can change over time. For example, when the electricity demand is high, prices will be higher than normal because it costs more to produce that extra energy.
  • Your home’s size and usage patterns are also essential in determining how much it will cost to run appliances or charge electronic devices. Smaller homes generally use less power than larger ones.
  • The type of appliance you use. Appliances that use more energy than others will cost you more money. For example, televisions and gaming consoles are generally more expensive than computers or laptops because they require higher-powered components.
  • Using modern electronic devices will lower your electricity cost by a considerable margin. Modern lighting devices such as LED bulbs consume less kWh than similarly rated nitrogen bulbs. This is because the latter lose a lot of power through heat. Modern refrigerators consume up to 4 times less power than older ones.
  • How you heat or cool your home will affect your power bill. Air conditioners consume up to 3kWh of electricity, making them the biggest culprit of high power bills. Cooling (or heating during winter) your house using green energy will save you several hundred dollars annually.
  • The number of people in a house is directly equivalent to the power consumption rate. More people means longer running showers, charging more phones, and even appliances such as the microwave will run for a longer time.

How do kW and kWh relate to batteries?

Having learned the difference between kilowatt hour vs kilowatt, let’s see how you can use this information when buying solar batteries. The capacity of a solar battery is measured in kWh. This determines how long a battery can power a household during a power outage. Solar batteries range from 1 kWh to 10 kWh. You can increase your kW to kWh solar backup capacity by stacking up more batteries. When choosing a battery, you should consider the following factors:

  • Whether your system is off-grid or a backup– having a backup to a grid-tied system requires a smaller battery pack as you only use it during a power outage.
  • Your budget- the higher your battery capacity, the more expensive it is. Setting up a solar backup system within your budget will help you break even faster.
  • How many appliances do you want to run on solar– Analyze your household appliances and decide which ones you can run on solar conveniently? Appliances such as refrigerators and air conditioners are huge power consumers and would require large-capacity batteries to run.

The distinction between kilowatt hour vs kilowatt emanates from the capacity(kWh) that describes how much power your batteries can store. It also bases on kW, which tells you how much electricity it can discharge at a given moment. This is known as power rating. A battery with a low kilowatt hour vs kilowatt ratio runs out of power relatively fast. Inversely, one with high capacity and low power rating would release electricity slowly, which would not be sufficient to run our appliances. You must balance the two when choosing your batteries.

How solar panels reduce your energy costs

Solar panels use sunlight to generate electricity. The amount of kilowatt a solar panel generates is dependent on its wattage. The more wattage, the more electricity it will generate. Here’s how solar panels can cut your power bills. 

Generating Electricity for Home Use

Solar power generates power based on the rating. A typical home needs a 6kW solar system for backup. However, photovoltaic panels only hit full power generation ability at noon when the sun is directly above. Therefore, an 8 kW per solar panel system will only generate the prescribed power at noon. Power generation is lower at other times.

Solar panels on a family house

Solar panels on a family house

Slashing Your Power Bills Through Net Energy Metering

Solar panels can slash your power bills by a considerable margin. They can produce enough power to run household appliances, especially during the summer when there is enough sunlight. When your panels generate more power than you use, you can use policies such as net energy metering to send excess power to the national grid. You get credits that your power provider can slash from your power bill. This arrangement is suitable for places where solar power is minimal during the winter. We all know that heating the house during these cold months can cause your power bill to balloon.

An air conditioning unit

An air conditioning unit

Powering Your Air Conditioner

As we have seen, solar panels produce the most electricity during the summer months. Longer days mean the PV panels are in the glare of sunlight for longer resulting in your batteries charging up faster. You can use this electricity to power the air conditioning, thereby cutting the cost of one of the heavy power consumers in the home. Despite the heat, you can maintain a cool home with little change to your power bill.

Naturally Cooling Your Home

Solar panels naturally cool your roof and, consequently, your home. Technicians install PV panels in places on the roof which the highest amount of sunlight. The panels provide a natural shade for your roof, which translates to less heat and a cooler home. The gap between the panel and the roof reduces heat transfer.


Well, now you know the distinction between a kilowatt hour vs. a kilowatt. This knowledge should go a long way in helping you make informed decisions about solar equipment. Getting the right batteries and kW solar panels will save you some grand on your bill. It could also make your life more comfortable by eliminating the inconvenience of power outages.

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