Four Advantages of Paralleling Generators
Many generators can be configured so that they are able to run in parallel, but what exactly does this mean? And what are the advantages of paralleling generators?
In the world of industrial generators, the term 'paralleling generators' typically refers to (2) or more diesel or natural gas generator sets which are physically connected to each other, and where the electrical output of the generators is synchronized and connected to a common bus on a main distribution panel. This creates a conduit, which allows the combined electrical output to be delivered to the facility. In order for the paralleling synchronization to work, the connected generators must match each other in several specifications including pitch, voltage, phase, and frequency.
The setup of a paralleling generator system is usually best handled by an electrical engineer or qualified generator technician. However, as paralleling systems have become more popular, some manufacturers are now making it a standard feature on new generator sets. New integrations can be as simple as connecting a single non-proprietary communications cable (typically Ethernet) between generators, and using built in control systems to manage the paralleled loads. Properly equipped generator controllers are able to automatically monitor load requirements, and dynamically adjust the load on each generator to achieve the most efficient load sharing. It can even shut down and then restart one or more of the generators to adjust to fluctuating load demands.
This brings us to four advantages that a paralleled generator system can offer:
Increases Power Capacity
Paralleled generator systems allow for scalability and the ability to add additional power as a business grows. Especially easy when planned in advance, additional generators can be daisy-chained into the paralleled system when more power capacity is needed. This allows businesses to pay as they grow, minimizing capital expenditures so that it can be used for other important business expenses.
Electrical loads do not remain at a constant level in most applications. Variations in power demand can cause a single larger generator to dip well below its optimal power capacity, losing efficiency and possibly causing fuel problems. Variations in load are handled extremely well by a paralleled system, where generators can be kept running in the optimal 75-80% of rated capacity, maximizing efficiency, fuel, and maintenance costs.
More Flexible and Easier Maintenance
Running generators in parallel can allow the emergency backup power system to remain active even during maintenance. With an N+1 parallel configuration, one generator can be completely offline for maintenance while the remaining generator handles the required loads. This can potentially eliminate the need for rental equipment during maintenance, or eliminate the risk of completely shutting down the backup power system for maintenance.
Adds Redundancy for Critical Loads
Paralleling systems can be designed so that if one generator fails, the power loads are redistributed among other generators in the system on a priority basis. This means that the most critical emergency elements will have the redundancy necessary to maintain power even if one of the generators fails. Historically, this has been one of the main reasons that businesses have used parallel configurations - to create redundancy and maintain power continuity.
With modern advances in technology, paralleled generator systems are better than ever. And as we have discussed here, they can offer some real advantages for growing businesses where power is mission critical. Furthermore, these systems are now readily available, are relatively easy to control, and can be deployed quickly with minimum initial investment.
If you think a paralleled generator backup power system could be right for your business, Global Power Supply is here to help. We offer paralleled systems from multiple manufacturers, and our team is standing by with the engineering and project management support to handle your project from start to finish.
Contact our experienced sales team with any questions, quote requests, or expert advice you may need.