What is a kWp, and how does it relate to kW and kWh?

August 1, 2018

A kWp is the peak power of a PV system or panel, kWp stands for kilowatt ‘peak’ of a system. The power is calculated under a standardised test for panels across all manufacturers to ensure that the values listed are capable of comparison. The test conditions for module performance are generally rated under Standard Test Conditions (STC): irradiance of 1,000 W/m^2, a module temperature at 25 degrees Centigrade and a solar spectrum of AM 1.5. Information about this spectrum can be found here, but is unlikely to be of any interest to anyone outside the industry. Suffice to say that it is a standardised test which enables comparison between different technologies and brands.

When the solar PV panels are operating, they will, over an hour convert the sun’s radiance into electrical energy, which is measured in kilowatt hours (kWh). A PV panel with a peak power of 3kWp which is working at its maximum capacity for one hour will produce 3kWh.

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