ION Solar Blog

How is Energy Measured?

Energy surrounds us in all different forms. Electrical, mechanical, chemical, thermal and nuclear energy forms play an important part of each day. Solar panels harness the power of the sun to create energy that powers your home and everyday electricity use!

Energy Measurements

Electricity is measured in watts. One thousand watts make up a kilowatt (kW). When you use one thousand watts of electricity in one hour, you get a measurement of kilowatt-hours (kWh). This is the measurement you see on your utility bills.

For solar panels, the measurement of kWh refers to the amount of energy produced by the panel. The measurement is represented as kWh per square meter of panel surface. A 1kW system generates about 1,000 kWh of electricity per year in cloudy regions, and close to double in sunny climates. In 2018, the average annual electricity consumption for a U.S. residential utility customer was 10,972 kWh, an average of about 914 kWh per month.

We factor the average annual electricity consumption and your home’s average energy needs when designing your system. This will ensure that your energy production needs are met!

How Do Solar Panels Generate Energy?

Solar panels are a type of device that uses photovoltaics to convert sunlight to electricity. Photovoltaic devices work by an electronic process that occurs naturally in certain materials, called semiconductors. Solar energy frees the electrons in these materials. The structure of the semiconductors forces these electrons to travel through an electrical circuit which powers electrical devices, or sends electricity to the grid.

Photovoltaic solar panels are composed of small photovoltaic cells connected together and made out of semiconducting materials. The cells are combined together in solar arrays and very efficient. When the sun shines on the cells, they create energy!

If you’re interested in seeing what solar can do for you, visit for a free quote!


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