Why an inverter?

June 22, 2015 8:02 pm Published by 1 Comment

Why an Inverter?

When talking about mobile power solutions, someone always tries to make the correlation between an inverter and a generator. An inverter can be explained as “a generator that uses the battery as its fuel tank”.

But which is better?


Generators are AC power supplies that use fossil fuels as their main source of energy. In other words, they use fuel (diesel or petrol) to run an engine. One of the major drawbacks of a generator is they can be inefficient and waste a lot of fuel if they’re not used at full load for a long period of time.Generators can unnecessarily pollute the environment for a small benefit. If you start your generator for say 10 minutes the generator barely gets lukewarm before you’ve shut it down. This can cause carbon buildup on the critical engine components, shortening the life of your generator’s engine. Generators are noisy & expensive to run. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diesel_generator

Price/KWh with running costs & service can run in excess of R6.00/ KWh.

Inverters are also AC power supplies, but they use stored DC electrical energy in a battery or battery bank. They use electronics and transformers to modify the DC to AC, and then boost the voltage to create 220V. On the up side inverters are extremely efficient, compared to generators, and only consume DC power in direct relation to the amount of AC power they put out. Another major benefit is that they are virtually silent compared to generators. The batteries are charged when the power is on, or solar panels can be used to charge the batteries. Inverters are comparatively light weight compared to generators. No need to keep fuel (diesel or petrol) on hand. Much lower running cost.

If there was a significant investment in solar panels, an inverter could easily take the place of Eskom. This would require a huge initial cost, but the long-term cost of ownership would be less with a solar or battery inverter system than a generator or Eskom, as sunshine is free.

Ultimately, your system becomes the winner if you do it right. Generators are available from the small 1kW to 15kW (sure they get bigger, but the huge units are part of a completely different discussion). Inverters come from 100W “pocket” inverters to 600W in the portable scope, and 800W to 4000W in hard-wired configurations. With our FCS K5 range you can add another unit as your demand increases to a maximum of six units allowing a total of 24000 W. This ensures you will never have to sell your inverter to buy a bigger one.

These units are configurable to run as three phase inverters as well allowing 10000w three phase.

Connection Options Available on 5Kva Units only




1 Comment

  • Leo Leydekkers says:

    South Africa is one of the world’s least energy efficient nations. We use approximately 40% of Africa’s electricity, and are the 11th highest emitter of greenhouse gasses in the world.
    Only about 90% of the energy, generated at the power station, gets to the end-user (at the socket-outlet). The rest is lost in transmission line losses etc. on the national grid.
    Most coal-fired power plants are only about 35% efficient – meaning that 65% of the energy capacity in the coal is lost at the power station alone. This, coupled with a 90% (of 35%) grid efficiency, means that only about 30% of the coal energy gets to the consumer.
    Which means we waste 70% of a rapidly diminishing fuel source.
    The above statistic relates to our electricity usage but, even more disturbing, is our refined fossil fuel usage:
    The internal combustion engine (ICE) is only about 16% (petrol) and 20% (diesel) efficient (at the wheels) – meaning we waste at least 80% of the refined fuel efficiency. But wait, it gets worse: That is the maximum efficiency. At any driving speed below rated maximum engine power, the efficiency rapidly deteriorates. At city speeds the efficiency can be as low as 5%. Yes, no printing error here – 5 (five)%.
    In addition to this, an average 1600cc (1.6l) family sedan requires 160Wh per km at 80km/h. A simple 30km journey requires 160 x 30 = 4.8kWh (at the wheels). This must be multipled by the efficiency at the wheels of an IEC: 4.8kW x 10% = 48kWh. In practical terms, this means that an average trip to work (15km) and back (15km) uses up almost 50kWh of energy. This is enough to power an average home for 5 days!
    What this all means is that we, South Africans, waste an awful amount of power.
    There is NO doubting the good and worth of installing solar energy. Good for the consumer and good for the environment.
    Leo Leydekkers, South African Bureau of Standards

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