This is a slightly different post. With solar energy we get used to talking about electricity in terms of Watts, Volts and sometimes even Amps. What do those terms really mean? The best analogy is to think of a the hosepipe instead of electricity; and it’s easier to visualize.

In a hosepipe, the rate at which water flows through the pipe is analogous to the current in an electrical system. Current is measured in Amps. So the more Amps you have, the more electricity there is flowing. Similarly, the voltage is equivalent to the water pressure. So, for the same size hosepipe, if you increase the water pressure, you are increasing the rate at which the water flows, and vice-versa. Voltage is measured in Volts, and the more volts you have, the more the electricity wants to flow.

So what’s a Watt? Technically Watts are what are called units of work, you can think of this as units of strength, or how strong the water is. If you were to point a hose at a water wheel, the more Watts that the water produces, the more strength the water has, and the faster the wheel turns. As you can imagine for a fixed hosepipe if you turn the faucet open more (i.e. increase the pressure) you will increase the strength of the water. So too in electricity. Increasing the current and/or voltage will increase the number of watts.