Hybrid Independent Power Plants
There are many situations in which electricity is needed but regular mains electricity isn’t readily available, or the cost and effort of connecting to the mains may not be justified.
In these situations, an independent power plant is the solution. There are many types of independent sources of electrical energy that can be used: a generator set, storage batteries, or solar power may all do the job. All of these options have advantages and disadvantages.
Generators can operate at any time, and have a long life; but they can be noisy and smelly, they can use lots of expensive fuel, and they aren’t very efficient when the power demand is small; but they can operate at any time, and have a long life.
Storage batteries are unobtrusive, and work all the time until they have to be recharged; but they are expensive and don’t last forever.
Solar power is also unobtrusive, and free to use once it has been installed; but to make a solar installation big enough to supply the greatest demands is expensive, and solar doesn’t work at night or in heavily cloudy weather.
The best strategy is to combine all of these options into a hybrid independent power plant.
A hybrid independent power plant combines different ways of providing electrical power; but it isn’t just a collection of different sources of electricity: each of these sources has different characteristics – different strengths and weaknesses. A hybrid independent power plant combines their strengths, and avoids their weaknesses to produce a synergy that is better than the sum of its parts.
The simplest hybrid independent power plant incorporates just a generator set and storage batteries. This combination brings great advantages.
Sophisticated modern generator sets, such as Eniquest’s generator range, are extremely quiet; however, even they make some noise, and all generator sets unavoidably produce exhaust fumes and heat, so the less time a generator set runs the better.
Generator sets are at their most efficient when they are producing lots of power – when the demand on them is very low they are much less efficient.
A generator set is at its best when it runs for as short a time as possible, while producing lots of power.
Independent Energy Solutions
Storage batteries Storage batteries store energy effectively for a long time with little loss and provide power silently, unobtrusively, and on demand.
Storage batteries are at their most efficient when the least amount of power is drawn from them. Even the best of storage batteries lose some of their energy, and the greater the power is that is drawn from them the more energy they lose.
Storage batteries are expensive to replace, and have a relatively short life, especially if they are discharged too deeply (though quality storage batteries do last a long time).
Storage batteries are at their best when they are no larger than they need be, and are providing a small amount of power.