While you’re still researching solar panels, you might find some “jargons” that make it hard for you to understand what you’re reading.
So, how about starting with the basics? You can begin by learning about megawatts and kilowatts, how to convert them, and why they’re important.
What are megawatts and kilowatts, and how do you convert them?
A watt is the basic unit of power. It’s the rate of flow of energy through a system. A watt is a very small unit of measure of energy, and it takes thousands of them to power a house. So, to measure how much electricity a house consumes, you convert watts into kilowatts or megawatts.
One kilowatt is equivalent to 1,000 watts. In other words, instead of saying your house needs 8,000 watts of electricity, you can say it needs 8 kWh of electricity.
On the other hand, a megawatt is equivalent to a million watts. It’s a bigger unit of measure than kilowatts and is mostly used when writing energy needs on larger scales, such as when powering an industrial facility. So, when you say a utility company needs two million watts of power, it needs 2 megawatts.
Next to megawatts are gigawatts and terawatts, equal to one billion watts and one trillion watts, respectively. These units of measure are useful in describing the energy needs of entire countries.
By defining megawatts and kilowatts, you next need to learn how to convert them:
- Number of Kilowatts = Number of Megawatts x 1,000
- Number of Megawatts = Number of Kilowatts / 1,000
Are kilowatts and kilowatt-hours the same or different?
These two units of measurement are different. Kilowatts only measure energy. Kilowatt-hours (kWh) measure the energy produced in an hour. Kilowatt-hour is the unit used by your electrical company when writing how much energy you used.
How can you calculate how much energy your appliances use?
You have to check your appliances and find how many kWh they use. Then, multiply that by the number of hours you’re using them. The result will show the energy the appliances consume.