Monthly Archives

August 2017

4 Factors That Influence Generator Rental

By | Generators

There’s a tendency to think of mobile rental generators as being used primarily for disaster recovery, but there are several more ways that these portable power units can be used. They can be used at any remote site from concerts and festivals to construction sites. They’re also used when the power is down for maintenance or site renovation in addition to unplanned outages like natural disasters.

Renting a generator is easy to do. There are plenty of businesses that rent generators by the day, week, month, or longer, but you’ll need to know a few things about your power needs in order to rent the right generator.

4 Pieces Of Information You’ll Need To Know When Renting A Generator

  1. Maximum load requirements. You want to size the generator correctly or you run the risk of either renting one that provides too much or too little power. Neither situation is ideal. Renting a generator that does not provide the power you need is almost useless but if you rent a generator that provides more power than you need you’re wasting money. Determine what you will be powering and add up the maximum load requirements for each to right-size your rental generator. Better yet, be upfront with your generator rental company about your needs and they’ll walk you through sizing options.
  2. Rental timeframe. When renting a generator you’ll not only have to provide the number of days you will need to rent the machine, but you might also be asked to provide the anticipated runtime. Runtime is often factored in to rental agreements. If you exceed the stated runtime, you may be charged for the overage. This is similar to renting a car; if you go over your stated miles, you’ll pay for them. Be sure to ask about different rental options. It may be more affordable to rent by the week or month, than by the day.
  3. Fuel type and fuel costs. Don’t forget to factor fuel in to your rental considerations. Take into account the type of fuel the generator needs, its availability to your location, and the cost of the fuel. You’ll be responsible for fueling the machine while it’s in your use. Plan for it.
  4. Accessories. Don’t forget to factor in accessories like cables and breakers. How far will the generator be from where power is needed? You will need to plan for cords and cables to run power to the site. Figure this out ahead of time to 1) get a comprehensive cost estimate and 2) ensure you have all the equipment you need to actually get power to your site. The last thing you want is to be 10 feet short on cable and have to waste half a day finding a longer cable or returning to the rental dealer.

In general, the more information you can provide to the generator rental company, the better. You’re more likely to get the generator you need at the right price.

Critical Power Products & Services has mobile rental generators that range from 20 kW to 2000 kW. Contact us at (877) 415-6467 to learn more about renting a mobile generator.

What Impact Do Solar Eclipses Have On Solar Power?

By | Backup power, Green

On August 21, 2017, much of the U.S. will be able to see a total or near-total solar eclipse. While the phenomenon has been met with excitement by many, it also raises the question of how solar eclipses impact solar power generation. This is a situation we haven’t really faced before, since the widespread use of solar power and total eclipses have rarely overlapped.

Hitting right in the middle of the day, when the sun is at its highest and strongest point in the sky, covering much of the continental U.S., and expected to last over two hours in some locations, the eclipse will definitely have an impact on solar farms. Fortunately, we knew this day was coming and grid operators seem to be prepared.

Planning And Preparation Is Key To Dependable Solar Power

1,900 utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) power plants are in the path of the eclipse. California alone is expecting a 6,000 megawatt power shortage due to the eclipse – the equivalent to losing the power demand of Los Angeles from 9 a.m. until noon. North Carolina is also expected to see a big dip in power since the state will experience a near 90% sun obscurity.

U.S. power companies watched the 2015 European eclipse carefully to see what impact, if any, the eclipse had on the much-more heavily solar dependent countries like Germany. In that instance, Germany saw a dip from 21.7 GW to 6.2 GW during the duration of the eclipse but was still able to provide the power needed by the German people. A good reason for that came down to planning and preparation – and that same approach has been adopted in the U.S.

Part of the reason why the eclipse isn’t expected to affect the power grid is because the U.S. grid remains diverse. The solar power that we will miss out on due to the eclipse will be replaced with power from wind turbines, hydropower, and natural gas plants. It’s possible that consumers may still be asked to conserve electricityduring the eclipse, but the hope is that by ramping up power from other sources, the power availability won’t suffer and consumers won’t have to change their daily habits.

It will be interesting to see how the eclipse affect solar power generation across the country and how the power companies respond. If nothing else, it will be a good study on the impact solar power is having on our electrical supply and the backup plans that are in place to preserve continuity of power.

As for August 21, we don’t know about you, but we’ll be too busy watching the eclipse to be worried about power loss.

Legalization Of Marijuana Is Impacting Power Consumption – And Not The Way You Expected

By | Green, recycle power equipment

How’s this for an unintended side effect of so many states legalizing the sale and consumption of marijuana? A dip in power consumption.

While many thought that marijuana legalization would overwhelm the power grid, and we did see a spike in demand when states first legalized it, demand is leveling off for a totally unforeseen reason: more growers are taking their crops outside.

Yep, now that farmers no longer have to keep their crops hidden, they are taking them outside or setting up greenhouses when possible. There’s also more investment in energy efficient lighting, heating, pumps, and cooling systems now that there is nothing to hide.

All of this adds up to less demand on the power grid than anticipated and a boost for several different industries that manufacture systems and equipment used by marijuana growers. Energy companies, however, may be singing a different tune – after all, there’s money to be made from an industry that is as power hungry as marijuana farming.

Ways To Boost Efficiency Of Indoor Farms

Some states don’t allow farmers to grow marijuana outside just yet but that doesn’t mean those farmers can’t take step to rein in their operating costs. Indoor marijuana farms can ease their reliance on the local grid by:

  • Investing in high-efficiency LED lighting. Not only do you save on energy consumed by the bulbs, they give off less heat that has to be drawn away from the plants.
  • Increasing access to natural sunlight such as through skylights.
  • Adding an on-site generator to provide on-demand, off-grid power.
  • Install on-site solar panels to offset demand for grid power.
  • Take advantage of grants and financial assistance. Some states, like Oregon, are offering incentives to marijuana growers who install energy efficient measures.

We’re certain as more and more states legalize marijuana, farmers being to network, and the industry comes out into the open, more ideas, methods, and best practices for optimizing power consumption will emerge. With marijuana, it seems, there is always a surprise around the corner.

As Renewables Flood The Grid, Opportunity Knocks For Building Management

By | Green

When we talk about adding renewable energy to the U.S. power supply, there is often a lot of talk about getting that power from the supply source (the solar farm or wind turbines, etc.) to the local power grid. There is less talk of what happens once that power hits the grid and how buildings may be able to adapt to the influx of power from renewable sources.

Can site managers capitalize on renewable energy inputs to optimize energy consumption?

Capitalizing On Peak And Off-Peak Demand And Availability

Building technologies are changing at a fast pace. The rise of smart systems has made it possible for site managers to control buildings from afar, but what if such systems could be taken further and tweaked to optimize a site’s energy resources?

It’s not a new concept, but what is new is how building managers are using those technologies in response to changes in the power grid, specifically, power that comes from renewable sources. The biggest change comes in the way we think about buildings. Instead of managing demand to fulfill the load requirements of buildings and still conserve energy, building managers are now starting to think about how they can adapt to grids with high amounts of renewable energy or even sites that have on-site renewable power sources.

Renewable energy often operates in spurts, with different days or times of day generating more power than others. As opposed to peak shaving, some sites are planning their peak operating times around these times of peak renewables generation. The idea is that by utilizing renewable power when it is at peak production, sites will realize cost savings.

It’s similar to the concept of running your most power-heavy equipment at off-peak times to benefit from off-peak rates. The trick is figuring out when renewable energy will peak and aligning your demand around those times.

Pricing Plans Are Key

Pinpointing when and how to run peak loads at times of high renewable inputs requires understanding a site’s energy data and consumption patterns as well as knowing when different energy sources are available and shifting site operations appropriately.

There are three pieces of information that can help you gauge when it’s a good time to capitalize on renewable inputs:

  1. Forecast load for buildings.
  2. Weather forecasts.
  3. Time of day pricing estimates.

Time of day pricing is critical to this form of energy management to work. Without it, there are no peak and off-peak pricing differences; you’ll pay the same rate no matter what time of day it is and regardless of how strong the sun is shining down at the solar farm.

It’s possible that as the U.S. energy grid adapts to add more renewables, energy providers will adapt their pricing structures as well to include more time of day pricing options. When that happens, there will be incredible potential for site managers to benefit from systems that automatically adjust a building’s energy consumption.