What Is a Megawatt? Megawatt-Hours & Conversions Guide

If a 100-watt light bulb needs an energy flow of one hundred watts to operate, then it stands to reason that the same holds true for a 60-watt variant. In other words, both require their respective wattage in order to generate power and perform as expected. A watt (W) is essentially the rate at which electricity generates or consumes energy – making this essential unit pivotal in ensuring your electronic devices function properly!

A watt is a minuscule unit of measure, so when discussing large-scale energy consumption like in homes which need thousands and even millions of watts – it’s much more understandable to use bigger units such as kilowatts (1kW = 1,000 W) or megawatts (1MW= 1,000 kW).

Your electricity bill will provide you with a record of your kilowatt-hours consumed during the month. A watt-hour is an energy measurement and one kilowatt-hour signifies that one thousand watts of power have been used for one hour’s time.

When describing immense power capacities, such as those of nuclear reactors or the electricity it takes to power a whole city, megawatts are employed. A single megawatt is equivalent to 1 million watts — an impressively grand number that amounts to 1000 times more than one kilowatt. 

Megawatts may seem like a large unit of power, but it is nothing compared to gigawatts — equal to one billion watts. Such impressive measurements are used when referring to the energy generated by entire countries!

Kilowatt to Megawatt Conversion Table

Just to recap, one megawatt is the same as 1 million watts or a whopping 1000 kilowatts. To make your life easier when dealing with solar panel system sizes in terms of kilowatts, here’s a helpful conversion table:

      Kilowatt (kW)           Megawatt (MW)

               10 KW


                    0.01 MW


           100 KW


                       0.1 KW


           1,000 KW


                  1 MW


          5,000 KW


                  5 MW


            10,000 KW


                  10 MW


          15,000 KW


                       15 MW


          20,000 KW


                  20 MW


          50,000 KW


                  50 MW     


          1,00,000 KW


                     1,000 MW


How to Convert Megawatts to Kilowatts

Converting megawatts to kilowatts couldn’t be simpler. All you have to do is multiply the number of megawatts by 1,000 and voila! You get your conversion result! Here’s an example: 5 MW x 1,000 = 5,000 kW. On the other hand, if you need to convert kilowatts into megawatts instead – just divide the number of kilowatts by 1000. Let’s see how it works with 50 000 kW: 50 000 ÷ 1 000 = 50 MW – that easy!

What Can One Megawatt Power?

A megawatt is the unit of measurement for quantifying electricity’s immense power, and it can supply far more than just a single household. This large-scale measure enables us to calculate how much energy is needed when we need to meet high demands.

Small-scale solar power stations are measured in kilowatts, or one one-thousandth of a megawatt. The biggest nine solar plants worldwide have an output rating of thousands of megawatts and all can be found in India, China, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt. For numbers ten to twenty on the ranking table for world’s largest solar sites list their levels at hundreds of megawatts; four out these come from the United States. An average 1 megawatt of solar energy can supply the electricity for 164 U.S. homes! If we scale up to 100 megawatts, this number skyrockets to an astounding 16,400 residences across America. One single megawatt-hour is capable of providing enough power for:

  • 1.2 months of electricity for an average American home
  • 3,600 miles driven by an electric car
  • 2 refrigerators run for a year
  • 2 60-watt light bulbs run continuously for a year

Megawatts and Climate Goals

Renewable energy has made major strides over the past few years, and in 2019 global installed capacity for these power sources was an impressive 2.5 million megawatts! Each nation’s commitment to renewable energy is a decisive part of their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), which are pledges they make as part of the Paris Agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. By the end of 2020, an overwhelming majority (90%) of countries that had signed onto the Paris Agreement submitted their Nationally Determined Contributions. An astounding 71%, or 134 parties, specified quantifiable objectives concerning renewable energy within electricity production.

Here’s a quick explanation of NDCs:

If all of the renewable energy targets for electrical power, established from countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), were to be implemented worldwide, we would witness a 42% increase in total global capacity utilized on renewables by 2030. This translates into an increase from 2,523 GW to 3,564 GW!

When the U.S. returned to the Paris Agreement in 2021, they presented a new NDC with an aim of decreasing net greenhouse gas emissions by 50-52% beneath 2005 levels within 2030 – and included a commitment to reach complete carbon pollution-free electricity by 2035. Solar installment and production are paramount for accomplishing this aspiration; without them, it would be impossible!

How Much Space Is Needed to Produce a Megawatt of Solar Energy?

In 2021, the U.S had an impressive 121.4 GWdc of solar energy at their disposal – enough to power 23.3 million homes! Nevertheless, like other electricity sources such as fossil fuels, it’s rarely ever reaching its full potential because optimum conditions are difficult to come by; a few factors that impact solar capacity include:

  • Location of the panels
  • How much sunlight the panels receive
  • What direction the panels face
  • The temperature and climate of the area
  • The type of solar cell used (monocrystalline or polycrystalline)

Generating a single megawatt of solar power necessitates five to 10 acres for the positioning of solar panels. Therefore, providing all U.S energy needs (including commercial, industrial, institutional and governmental sectors) with only this source would require an astronomical amount of space and thousands more photovoltaic cells as well as infrastructure to accompany them – which is why other renewable sources are paramount.

Homeowners who are looking to shift from traditional energy sources and join the clean-energy revolution can invest in a community solar project. These projects boast much higher power outputs than what an average household can achieve with their own system, often reaching up to 1 MW of output spread throughout its members.

Related article: 6 kW Solar Panel System – Cost, Output and Installation Guide


A megawatt can power an astounding amount of homes, and it is an essential factor in most climate goals. Renewables are crucial to reduce greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, and one single megawatt-hour is capable of providing enough electricity for a home for 1.2 months or 3,600 miles driven by an electric car! With the NDCs set in motion, the world is slowly but surely advancing towards a greener future, with nations steadily investing in renewable sources.

The good news: Solar energy can reduce your bills and help you contribute to a more sustainable future – all while being located on your own roof or even within your local community! With so many advantages, the future’s looking bright!


How many kilowatts are in a megawatt?
One megawatt is equal to 1,000 kilowatts.

How much energy does one megawatt-hour produce?
One megawatt-hour is equivalent to 3.6 million joules of energy and is capable of powering a home for 1.2 months, or 3,600 miles driven by an electric car.

How much space is needed to produce one megawatt of solar energy?
Producing one megawatt of solar power requires five to 10 acres for the placement of solar panels.

How much electricity can one megawatt power?
One megawatt of power is enough to provide electricity to 750-1,000 homes. Navigation Home About Us Services Sustainability Contact Us Privacy Policy Terms & Conditions Legal Disclosure (CCPA) Copyright 2021 by Green Future Solutions, LLC. All rights reserved.

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