How Many Kilowatt-Hours (kWh) Does a Solar Panel Produce?

How Many Kilowatt-Hours (kWh) does a solar panel produce? To answer that question, let’s start with, what is a kilowatt (kW) vs. a kilowatt-hour (kWh)? 

A kilowatt is 1,000 watts. It’s a measure of how much power an electric appliance consumes.

A kilowatt-hour is a unit of energy used to measure electricity consumption. In other words, usage over time. A kilowatt-hour represents the amount of energy consumed by a device or system that has a power rating of one kilowatt running for one hour.

Here’s an analogy: a 100 watt lightbulb burning for 10 hours is one kilowatt. Ten 100 watt light bulbs are one kilowatt after one hour. 

On the Central Coast, it’s about 150 kilowatt-hours a year for every hundred kilowatts of solar. But, not every solar panel is the same. Just like lightbulbs, solar panels come in different sizes or wattages. Some solar panels are 550 watts. Older solar panels are 100 watts. 

The intensity of the sun also factors into how much power comes out of a solar panel. The time of the year matters. It’s like getting a tan; you get a better tan in the summer than you do the winter. Solar panels will put out more of what they are rated for on a clear summer day.

One kilowatt of solar panels on the Central Coast makes about 1,500 kilowatt-hours a year. If you know you use 6,000 kilowatt-hours a year in your house, you might need a 4-kilowatt solar system.

The average-size home in the U.S. (2,480 square feet) uses 10,884 kWh (kilowatt-hours) annually and would need between 15 and 22 400-watt solar panels to replace other energy sources. For most people, a 6-kilowatt system would make about 10,000 kilowatt-hours per year. 

Admittedly, all of this is rather complicated. 

“That’s why you work with a local solar professional that will help explain all this and work with you through the process,” said Mark Miller, founder and partner at A.M. Sun Solar & Roofing. “We are happy to do it! There are only a couple options you have to lower your electricity bill; use less power, or get solar.”

And use the resources you already have: sunlight and your roof!

A.M. Sun Solar & Roofing will analyze how many kilowatt-hours, and how many kilowatts you use, and when people use them, to design your system. 

“You have to know these things to design the solar system and the batteries and put it all together. So, that’s why you work with a solar expert. Not just an electrician or just a roofer,” said Miller. 

Want to know how much power your solar panels will generate? Click here to read this blog.

Want to go solar?

You likely have lots of questions about solar energy. Well, you’ve come to the right place! We have the answers and local experts who have decades of experience. Click here for answers to our Most Frequently Asked solar questions. 

More About A.M. Sun Solar & Roofing

A.M. Sun Solar & Roofing is the local leader in custom solar solutions and installations on the Central Coast. For over two decades, A.M. Sun Solar & Roofing has provided high quality, cost efficient solar energy to residences and small businesses in San Luis Obispo, Monterey, Kern, Fresno, and Santa Barbara counties. With a wide variety of financing solutions available, affordable pricing, custom solutions and complete installations from permit to interconnection, A.M. Sun Solar & Roofing is the go-to local solar company on the Central Coast.

Connect with us today at, (805) 772-6786, or fill out the form below to get a FREE on-site consultation with one of our friendly solar & roofing experts.