Generator v/s Inverter Back-up: Pros and Cons

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Before we proceed to evaluate the pros and cons for domestic use fuel-based generator versus a battery inverter set, let us understand some of the principles behind the working of these two.

 

Principle Diesel-run Generator (DG) Inverter
Storage A generator does not store electricity; as the name suggests, it generates electricity once started. So, it needs to be started first and only then will it provide power. Obviously, there will be a time lag between starting and receiving back-up power once utility supply fails. A power inverter set does store power in the batteries in the form of direct current (DC). It first converts alternating current (AC) from the mains during charging and stores it; immediately reconverting it to AC to run your appliances. There is no time-interval; no manual starting either.
Energy  A generator generates electricity. It is a mechanical device that converts the calorific value of diesel into electrical energy using rotating devices. An inverter only stores and reconverts energy. When DC power is inverted into AC electricity, the result is an unvarying electrical signal. Properly filtered, it has the same characteristics as perfect alternating current.
Weight Unless your power back up requirement is small (only domestic lighting and household appliances), a DG set can be heavy and bulky, requiring a metal frame and wheels. Technically, they are portable but they lack the convenience factor. An inverter is not a bulky, heavy device per se, but it works only along with a set of connected batteries. These can be bulky and not easy to shift around.

 

Now that you have understood the principles behind the working of these two, we now move on to compare their advantages and disadvantages.

DG advantages:

  1. There is a reason why conventional generators are larger and heavier. They have a higher fuel capacity. With more fuel, you can operate a standard generator for extended periods without running out of fuel. 
  2. There is a stark contrast between the power output of a generator and an inverter. If you are operating heavier equipment and need a considerable amount of power, then rely on a generator to produce 500 watts up to 50,000 watts. So, if your job requires a lot of power and for a long time a generator is a better solution.

DG disadvantages:

 

  • Higher maintenance cost in the long run due to moving parts’ wear and tear
  • Higher noise output
  • Higher pollution due to use of fossil fuel
  • Higher running cost due to (ever increasing cost of diesel) and relatively lower efficiency
  • Inconvenience of replenishing and storing fuel
  • Fire hazard of diesel storage—requires installation away from point of use
  • Runs at the same speed of 3600 RPM, so you can expect the same noise even if fewer appliances are connected. It also costs higher when load requirements are less.
  • No compatibility with Solar Panels

 

Inverter advantages:

  1. An inverter is safer for electronic devices and other sensitive equipment such as computers and personal printers. It produces a pure sine-wave output that matches the quality of mains supply.
  2. It provides uninterrupted back-up (critical, say, for a doctor’s clinic) with no starting time, no inconvenience either.
  3. Hardly makes any noise 
  4. Causes no pollution—environment friendly
  5. Greater efficiency of operation hence lower running cost
  6. The backup time is inversely proportional to load. The lower the load, higher the back-up time.
  7. The next generation inverters are designed for Solar Compatibility hence you can generate electricity using solar power or run appliances or even charge batteries. 

 

Thinking of investing in a power back up solution and still confused about which one to buy? Give us a call at  +91-9667123456 or try our recommendation of investing in a pure sine wave inverter from a reputed brand like Genus.