What’s the Difference Between kW and kWh?

To explain the difference between kW and kWh, let’s start with the terminology. A kilowatt (abbreviated as kW) is the same as 1,000 watts (or W). A kilowatt-hour (abbreviated as kWh) is the same as 1,000 watt-hours (or Wh).

Difference between kW and kWh

A watt is a measure of the amount of power flowing at one moment in time. If a solar array has a capacity rating of 5 kW, then it is capable of putting out a flow of 5 kW of energy under the right conditions.

If that solar array produces at a rate of 5 kW for one hour of time, then it has created 5 kWh of energy.

Think of watts (or kW) as a car’s speed—its capacity to move at a certain rate—and watt-hours (or kWhs) as the distance the car travels. You might be in a car that is going wicked fast, but if it is only able to drive for 5 minutes at that speed before running out of gas, then it won’t take you far.

In general, what you need from your car is enough range or capacity to be able to get you to your destination. Similarly, for solar, your “destination” is the creation of enough kWhs of energy to cover the needs of everything in your life that uses electricity… or at least those that use electricity at home… which is how you reduce or eliminate your electric bill. If you can get those kWhs with the purchase of the fewest kW of capacity, you are getting the best value out of your investment.

And that’s what the Solaflect Tracker does.  By accurately tracking the sun, it generates the maximum possible number of kWhs of energy from the kW of solar panel capacity.  Pretty cool.

We love talking about all things related to solar, so please reach out to us or call us at (802) 649-3700 if we can answer questions and help you think about how solar can cover an ever-increasing share of your family’s power usage!

monitoring solar tracker production
Previous post
Can I Monitor The Solar Production of My Solar Tracker?
Next post
How Does Solar Power Production Vary Over the Year?
Monthly solar production and net metering value from a Solaflect PV Tracker, 2014 - 2015.