Natural disasters, maintenance and other inevitable variables can throw a wrench in something we all rely so heavily on: power. But even industrial facilities who have planned blackout periods due to electrical maintenance can still feel the repercussions of a lack of power. Whether planned or unplanned, power outages can disrupt business and cost organizations millions. But with the right backup solutions in place, business can run as usual despite a lack of access to the power grid.
Two of the best ways to keep a consistent power stream through generators include using generator disconnect solutions and automatic transfer switches (ATS).
Generator connect solution
These solutions provide standby power that can quickly and safely connect to a portable generator that is connected to the primary electrical distribution system. They are also designed, tested, manufactured and listed to UL standards to ensure they are up to code with the latest NFPA (National Fire Protection Agency) NEC (National Electric Code) standards. They are typically pre-assembled and pre-wired making them easy to install and can help facilities avoid costly power and equipment shutdowns.
Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS)
These provide facilities with reliable, redundant power to single-corded equipment. A rack-mount ATS has dual input power cords supplying power to the connected load and can seamlessly source power from a generator or other secondary source without interrupting critical loads in the case of a power outage. They also have built-in network connectivity, which allows for remote management. It provides additional benefits including:
- A wide range of input and output connections to distribute different voltages of power to multiple outlets, making them adaptable to varying power requirements.
- Information displays that indicate the status of AC sources powering the units and indicate which source is set as the primary source and which source is currently supplying power through a visual depiction.
- A rack-mountable solution that occupies only 1U of valuable rack space and puts the power where it is needed most – in the rack near the equipment.
Energy Control Centers
Another way that organizations are combating power outages while searching for sustainable energy alternatives is through using Energy Control Centers (ECCs) to help facility staff manage their power systems to become more reliable. The ECC system is basically the brains of the operation and provides action-based recommendations determined by current electrical availability. Many ECCs use advanced algorithms to assess available power sources and their condition and analyze load priority and energy requirements. It can make critical decisions and adjust power sources and loads to ensure energy reliability. Most importantly, the ECC is able to operate during a grid outage by using distributed energy resources (such as generators) as an anchor resource to be grid forming. Schneider Electric provides ECCs that are fully integrated with controls and equipment.
Power outages don’t have to bring business to a screeching halt or cost businesses massive amounts of money with the right solutions in place. Knowing the options that are available and using them as a secondary backup can allow business operations to function normally and keep things moving.
These solutions are available at Schneider Electric’s Livermore facility, which also develops custom solutions for direct replacements and retrofills. The custom solutions include products that aren’t found in the immediate catalog and can be designed with stainless steel enclosures, reduced height, depth and width structure, non-standard ratings and third-party integrations.