Prime VS Standby Generators

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What is the difference between standby, continuous, and prime power ratings?

 

Standby power generators are most often used in emergency situations, such as during a power outage. It is ideal for applications that have another reliable continuous power source like utility power. It’s recommended usage is most often only for the duration of a power outage. Prime power ratings can be defined as having an “unlimited run time” or essentially a generator that will be used as a primary power source and not just for standby or backup power.

A prime power rated generator can supply power in a situation where there is no utility source, as is often the case in industrial applications like mining or oil & gas operations located in remote areas where the grid is not accessible.

Continuous power is similar to prime power but has a base load rating. It can supply power continuously to a constant load, but does not have the ability to handle overload conditions or work as well with variable loads.

The main difference between a prime and continuous rating is that prime power gensets are set to have maximum power available at a variable load for an unlimited number of hours and they generally include a 10% or so overload capability for short durations.

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