Diesel Generator sets have been the backbone of standby electrical power and in some remote locations the primary electrical power source for facilities around the world for many years.
The cost to run a diesel generator set must be calculated based on the following criteria:
The estimated overall cost of operation is greater than $0.35 Per KWHr. For a point of reference, the national utility cost are approximately $0.25 – $0.35 per KWHr. Obviously, if the national utility is reliable and stable, purchasing electrical power from them is cheaper and requires considerably less maintenance concerns. BUT, purchasing electrical power from a 3rd world national utility is often very risky because of POOR reliability and VERY POOR Power Quality resulting in equipment damage.
The electrical power quality from a diesel generator set is affected by the following design and manufacturing criteria:
For a healthcare facility with sensitive electronics on the medical devices a tolerance of 5% on voltage and 2% on frequency is the recommended manufacturer specification. In order for a diesel generator set to meet these tolerances the governor and Automatic Voltage Regulator must be DIGITAL not analog or mechanical. Cost of the generator set reflects these options. Digital controls and monitoring now require special computer interfaces, cables and software to troubleshoot and make changes to parameters. Often it is not cost affective to purchase these for a single installation. However, the electronics used on such applications are manufacturer to withstand the harsh environment of the diesel generator set. It is imperative the manufacturer properly installs the parameter specific for the location before shipping.