What’s the Difference Between Standby & Industrial Prime Power?
What is the difference between a standby and industrial prime power generator? Which is best suited for your needs? In fact, there are many differences between these two types of power generation systems. While both will deliver reliable power you can depend on, they are not the same. Choosing the wrong type of system for your needs can leave your operations in the dark and your machines ideal when the power grid goes down.
Standby Generators vs. Industrial Prime Power
Standby generators are designed to provide emergency power when the power grid fails. Most are designed to operate for around 200 to 250 hours over a 12-month period. They can deliver variable or constant generator loads. As with all power generation systems, it is vital to use a standby generator that delivers sufficient amps. This is especially important during the start-up process because most standby generators will only operate at around 70% of their capacity when they start. The bottom line is that standby generators are designed to operate as a backup to the main power supply.
Conversely, prime power generators are intended to serve as a primary power source. They are designed to operate for extended periods of time, including 24/7, if desired. They are capable of delivering variable power so long as the load does not vary beyond 50% to 100% of the industrial prime power generator’s rating. This is an important distinction, because operating a prime power system below 50% of the rated prime load results in light loading. This can diminish fuel efficiency and can cause damage to the power generator. Unlike standby generators that are intended to operate as a backup to the primary power grid, industrial prime power systems are designed to serve as a prime power source in areas not serviced by a power grid.
The difference in usage also affects how much fuel you need to store on site. Since standby generators are designed to operate for short periods of time, less fuel is required. With industrial prime power, it is necessary to maintain a large fuel supply, which often means dedicating sufficient space on-site to secure and store it. Since most standby fuels will be used before quality is reduced by microbial and moisture buildup, fuel polishing for standby fuels isn’t often required. Conversely, since most fuel stores for prime systems are considerably larger, annual or, bi-annual fuel polishing is a regular chore.
Finally, warranties offered by manufacturers of standby and prime generators tends to vary. Manufacturer’s warranties on standby generators typically cover 12 months of use for between 500-2500 hours of operation, while industrial prime power warranties often cover up to two years of use at 500 hours for standby and up to 1 year of unlimited use for prime power operations.
We encourage you to contact Gentech Power Generation Specialists at (800) 625-8324 for more about industrial prime power. With offices in Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, and Colorado, we are the Southwest United States premier provider of power generation solutions.