What is a Kilowatt-Hour and What do You Need to Know About This Unit?

If you ever reviewed your electric bill or done solar research, you have most probably seen the term – kilowatt-hours, kWh, or kilowatts. Do you know what kWh means or what it actually is? Kilowatt and kilowatt-hours are sometimes used interchangeably.

Learning about these terms can be useful for keeping track of the energy expenses of your residential, commercial, or other buildings. It would be more helpful to understand the difference between these terms when you are receiving quotes from prospective solar system providers or installers. Read on to discover everything you must be aware of about kilowatts and how it matters when it comes to solar.

What is a kilowatt or kW?

It measures the rate at which electricity is being produced at a certain time. When a solar panel generates energy at any given time, the solar inverter will be generating a specific number of kilowatts. That’s why you may notice the kilowatt production of your photovoltaic system fluctuating up and down based on various factors at different times of the year or throughout the day.

For example, climate patterns, the angle of the sun, and more. In context to solar, when you receive a quote from a rooftop solar installation company, the kW shows the power capacity of the solar system.

What is a kilowatt hour or kWh?

This is the unit of energy that is used to measure the amount of electricity generated or utilized per hour. The electricity bill shows the number of kilowatt-hours used in the billing time. For example, when a solar system generated 1kW constantly for an hour, it means it has generated 1kWh of energy. It is the same as using 1,000 watts of power per hour. Instead of a single moment, this unit correctly shows the overall solar power production. Utility companies also use the same unit of energy to figure out the electricity usage. Kilowatts are used rather than watts because of the volume of power all electronic appliances use.

How are kWh calculated?

You can determine the total number of kWh used monthly by reviewing your electricity bill. It can be measured simply by measuring the amount of electricity used when you run a 1 kW appliance continually for one hour. To find out how much energy each appliance uses in kWh, you can use the formula given below –

Wattage/1000 x total numbers of hours used = kilowatt hours used

To find out the monthly kilowatt-hour usage for your appliance, first determine the kWh your appliance consumes per day, and then apply the following formula –

kWh consumed x 30 days = kWh used per month

Once you calculate the monthly kWh consumption of appliances, use the formula given below to find out the energy cost of running appliances in a month.

Kilowatt-hours used in a month x price per kilowatt-hour = monthly electricity cost

What can 1kWh power?

Electronic appliances use different amounts of energy because they have varying wattages. After adding time of use as a parameter, you are determining energy rather than power because energy is referred to as power over time. Your appliances will use a single kWh of electrical energy in multiple ways. For example –

  • 1 hour for a dishwasher (1000 watts)
  • 20 minutes for the oven (3000 watts)
  • 3 hours for a refrigerator (300 watts)
  • 20 hours for a laptop (50 watts)
  • 20 hours for watching a 50-inches LED TV (50 watts)
  • 100 hours for a light bulb (10 watts)
  • 6.66 hours for using a PlayStation 4 (150 watts)

How many kWh do common household appliances consume?

Rather than finding what you can power with a single kilowatt-hour, determine how much your household items consume under normal usage. For example –

  • An electric water heater uses 380-500kWh monthly
  • 50-inches LED uses 0.016kWh monthly
  • The clothes washer (warm wash and cold rinse) uses 2.3kWh per load
  • An electric dishwasher uses about 2kWh per load
  • A refrigerator uses around 54kWh monthly
  • The clothes dryer uses 2.5-4kWh per load
  • AC (air conditioner) 3 ton 12 SEER uses 3kWh in an hour

How many kilowatt-hours do my home appliances use per day?

The amount of kWh your home appliances can use is based on –

  • Your residence size (square footage)
  • Total number of people residing in your home
  • Age of your home (your roofing material, window type, and factors that impact insulation)
  • Weather conditions in your locality
  • The total number, type, and age of your appliances

Why does the difference between kW and kWh matter?

If you are getting solar proposals from your local installers and are willing in adopting cost-effective solar power in India to save your monthly electricity bill, then you must understand the difference between these two units of electricity. 1kW is not the same as 1kWh. The production (kWh) of your system is more important than the size of the system (kW).

Compare multiple options when multiple solar quotes are all priced out in one unit. However, if you have received one quote through kWh and another in kW, this will make things more complicated. The cost per kilowatt or kilowatt-hour could differ on the surface. It might be the opposite when you change the numbers into the same units. For this, you can multiply the kilowatt of your energy usage by the total number of hours of operation to get the result in kilowatts.

Note that not all solar panel systems generate an equal amount of power in a specific time. So, select the right panel based on your situation. To get useful information, contact your qualified solar partner. The professionals will better explain multiple panel options based on your home energy needs.

How understanding kilowatt-hour can benefit small business?

Understanding what a kilowatt-hour is and how it can affect your small business will benefit you in multiple ways. It better helps in understanding the electricity cost of your business. This will help you in having more control over energy expenses and protecting your bottom line. It can help you reduce the energy consumption of your business when your business is making some common power-wasting mistakes. You can limit the electricity cost of your business using the energy plans by accessing a lower rate during off-peak time.

If you are interested in solar system installation but have more queries about rooftop solar system maintenance, how much it cost, how many panels you would require, or others, contact experts at Megamax Solar.

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