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When looking for a generator and determining how your critical power should be used, there are different types of power settings and ratings that need to be considered. Both prime and standby power are widely accepted terms inside the power industry, supplying power from your generator in different ways.

As a rule, the terms prime and standby refer to how power is used and supplied by the generator. When in prime power mode the generator is used as the primary source of power. With a standby power setting, the generator is used as a backup plan, usually when the mains supply fails.

With both types of power there are significant differences that should be considered before deciding which generator set is the better choice for your organisation. With both prime and standby settings, it is useful to learn how and when they are used, so that you can get the most out of your machine.


Prime Power Generators

As prime power is the main or primary source of power, this type of generator is used to power equipment over longer periods. Used regularly, the generator will require a good supply of fuel to ensure it can keep running for an extended time. With this, it is also imperative to check the fuel supply frequently and to ensure maintenance and service check-ups are up to date.

Externally connected fuel tanks are advised when running a generator over longer periods, as they can supply fuel anywhere between 500L up to 20,000L, dependant on how long it will be run for. Without an external fuel tank, most standard generator’s base fuel tanks have a typical short run time of 6-10 hours only.

When considering how your generator will be utilised, factoring in generator maintenance and service plans are crucial considerations when looking at the generator’s performance and longevity.


Standby Power

With standby power, the main application of the generator is to act as emergency power when external power, usually supplied by the grid, fails. They can be used in many situations including residential, commercial and industrial areas. They are sometimes referred to as an Emergency Power Generator, as it is intended to run just long enough to cover power until the original source is restored. In standby settings, the generator will be used for no longer than 200 hours in a 12-month period.

Another consideration is to ensure that the load being supported by the standby generator is not greater than maximum size amps that the generator can supply. Sizing is an important consideration when deciding which generator may work best for you, specifically the capacity of the generator too. With any generator, 65-70% is the maximum capacity that it can withstand upon start-up.

Generators that are run in standby, will also require regular servicing and maintenance plans. Whilst only in standby mode, it is essential to run the generator periodically to ensure it can start and supply the building mode when needed. By doing this, you will keep your machine running at its best and reduce the potential for breakdowns and failures to start. Ensuring the diesel fuel tank capacity is sufficiently topped-up for use in any emergency power situation, will also keep breakdowns and repairs to a minimum.


Continuous Power

Along with prime and standby power, continuous power is another term and mode of generator power that you may come across and one which is similar to a primary power source. Designed to work on a consistent basis, the difference between a continuous and prime generator is that the power load supplied in a continuous setting is steady over the time that it is used. With prime, the generator is designed to operate for longer durations at variable loads.


Generator Power Ratings Explained

Generator power ratings are a set of specified values given to the generator model by its manufacturers. They are important as they detail accuracies regarding its power supply capabilities. Depending on usage and requirement, the information provided by the manufacturer are designed to give as much detail, helping you to choose a generator that is right for your business.

From providing an insight into a generator’s power supply and how much it is capable of producing, to the types of applications it may be powering, the power ratings are essential specifications to look for when working out its capabilities.

When hiring or buying a generator, the size you will need is one of the main factors to consider. Generator size is measured in kilovolt-amperes (kVA), which can be confusing to those outside the generator industry. kVA differs from kilowatts (kW), which is the amount of ‘actual power’ an electrical system has, as the lesser-known kVA tends to apply to equipment inside the power industry, measuring the apparent use of power instead.

kW is how much power you can work with, whilst kVA tells you how much is being used in the system overall. When it comes to the rating on a generator, the higher the kVA rating, the more power it will produce.

The kVA rating is important to look at when choosing the right generator for your business. As generators come in all sizes, ensuring you have enough power to run the application it is intended for, is a factor that must be considered.


WBPS Diesel Generators

At WBPS, we believe your diesel generator is at the heart of your operations. Suppliers of critical power solutions for 40 years, we are also Europe’s largest distributor of Kohler-SDMO generators and well-equipped to help you with all your generator requirements.

Suppliers of a wide range of generator services, including for hire, sale and maintenance packages, we can ensure whichever package you choose, we can help you work out what you need, whilst keeping your unit working at its best.

From small generators rated at 6kVA to large generators at 4500kVA and above, all the way to large-scale multi-synchronous packages, we can select and install the right generator into your current business process with minimal disruption to the daily running of your site.

To find out more about all the services we offer, speak to one of our experienced team members today and see how we can help you find the right generator for your business.