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What standby generator do I need?

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If you have found yourself needing a standby generator for your building and wondering where to start, hopefully this quick guide will give you some information and considerations for what type of generator to buy or what size generator you need.

Firstly, consider exactly what you need to protect the most in your building or business. It is a common misconception that you will need to supply your entire building with a generator, when often you can limit the size of your generator by choosing to supply only essential equipment and systems.

This is done by splitting your essential or critical circuit into a separate electrical board. This board is usually supplied from your main switchboard and then switched over to the generator on mains failure.

What should I protect with my generator?

The loads you choose to protect with your standby generator will depend on criticality for your business or operations. The aim being to protect from financial losses, for security or for life safety amongst other things.

Below are some considerations to help you to think about your own needs:

Loss of production

  • What would the financial losses be if production or operations were to stop in your business? You may have machinery or processes that require power that you depend on to sustain your income. It is important to have standby power to protect this.

Security

  • Do you have CCTV, access control systems, gates or barriers? These should have an emergency power source in the case of mains failure

Life safety

  • Fire detection and sprinkler pumps, smoke ventilation, elevators, lighting alarm & systems etc should all have emergency power supplies. Most of these control systems will have small back up batteries to keep their systems and communications active, but they all will need an emergency power source to ensure they remain operational during an outage.

Servers & systems

  • If your business relies on your ‘back end’ systems for processes and operations, you will need to protect them from power loss. This is best done with an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) combined with a standby generator. The UPS is a back up battery that supports your servers in between the mains failing and the generator starting and transferring to the building.

What standby generator do I need?

Once you know what you need to protect, the next steps are to calculate what size generator you need to power all of your desired equipment.

You can do this in two methods:

Calculation

  1. Write down all of the individual loads in kW and add them together to produce a total load demand. This sounds simple but there are many other considerations when doing this such as power factor, peak loads, motor starting currents and harmonics etc. If you would like assistance with calculating your generator size please give us call today.

Measurement

  • You can monitor and measure your building power consumption and characteristics over a period of time using a power log meter. This will provide you with your average loads and peak loads. This is the best method for sizing a generator.

Once you have an idea of generator size, be sure to allow for any future expansion or changes in the business that may affect the sizing of the unit.

What type of generator should I get?

Now here is where you should consult expert advice. There are many different brands, customisations and specification variants with standby generators and it is important to choose the best generator for your requirements.

At Solent Power we have the knowledge, experience and strong relationships with generator manufacturers which enables us to provide you a range of options for your emergency power requirements.

Please contact us today, to discuss your requirements and let us support your emergency power system design.

Paul Phelps Solar Power Owner
Paul Phelps
Paul is the MD of Solent Power and specialises in emergency power solutions, helping to protect your facilities from power loss. Get in touch with us today to discuss the different power brands that we can offer and how they can suit your needs.
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