What to Consider to Properly Size Your Generator

What to Consider to Properly Size Your Generator


Continuous machinery operation is key for the success of commercial and industrial facilities. A power outage of any length can be very costly for a business. A generator can give you that backup power source you need, but it’s important that you select the right size generator to make sure that it can efficiently handle the requirements of your facility.

Why is sizing so important?

The last thing you want to do is to select a generator that is too small to handle the power needs of your operation. Since you only plan to use it in emergency situations, you might believe that a low-capacity unit will do just fine. However, this will prove to be a mistake when it comes time to use the generator during a blackout. As it attempts to handle the power requirements of your facility, it will quickly get overloaded and fail to operate. Then, you have not only wasted money on a generator that you can’t use, but, in turn, you have also lost production time for your business. Being prepared with the proper size generator will help you avoid this scenario.

So, what is the perfect number? The right size will depend on your facility. If you have a large facility with lots of machinery in use, you will want to buy a higher-capacity unit that you can rely on in the event of a power outage. A mid-sized facility could suffice with a smaller generator. Depending on your situation, your perfect generator size could be anywhere from 50kW to over 3 Megawatts. At Valley Power Systems, we can help you evaluate the right size for your business.

There are some factors to consider when you’re assessing the right size for your company. Ask yourself the following questions:

1. What will be powered by the generator?

Make a list of everything that will need to be powered. You can use an industrial generator to power:

  • Tools:You and your employees may use various electrical tools during the workday. During a power outage, these won’t be able to work off the main power, but a generator can give them the energy source they need to work without interruption.
  • Machines:Machine downtime can have a big impact on your bottom line. In the event of a power failure, a generator can supply that backup energy to ensure consistent machinery performance. When you’re choosing a generator size, you should consider how many machines will need to run during the outage to make an informed decision.
  • Other electrical components: You will need to factor in all other electrical items that will need power to properly size your generator. If you’re unsure, Valley Power Systems can help.


2. How much power do you need?

To pick the right unit, you also need to determine the total wattage consumed by the generator. If you exceed the generator’s capacity, the unit will fail to power on when you need it. Overextending it may even cause adverse reactions for your other electrical equipment.  You should consider how many watts are required to power on each tool or machine in your facility. This is called the “starting wattage.” You should also determine the “running wattage,” which is how much power is needed to keep them running for a given length of time. You can usually find this information in the owner’s manual for each piece of equipment.

3. What are the total power requirements?

Add up the combined power needs of all the machines and tools that you will need the generator to supply power to. Selecting the right generator capacity can be determined by calculating either the kVA, which is equal to 1,000 volt amps, or the kW, a unit of power that equals 1,000 watts.

Depending on how many items need power as well as their collective requirements, the right generator size can vary greatly. Industrial generators come in a wide range of sizes and power capacities, so it can be easy to get overwhelmed when you are attempting to select one for your facility. At Valley Power Systems, our goal is to give our clients peace of mind knowing that they’ll have a reliable backup power source when they need it most. Our team is on-hand to answer any of your questions and help you select a good generator for your facility.

Advantages of Selecting the Right Generator

Once you have purchased your new generator, you can reap the benefits of carefully choosing the proper size. These benefits include:

  • Reduced risk of unexpected shutdowns
  • Increased lifespan of the generator
  • Reliable daily performance
  • Reduced chance of capacity overload
  • Fewer maintenance needs
  • Safer work environment

Don’t Forget Maintenance

Regular maintenance is essential once you have a generator in place at your facility. It will keep your unit running optimally and reduce the repair costs that are associated with poor maintenance. By performing these periodic tasks, you can also identify problems with your system before they have a chance to progress into major issues. Your recommended maintenance might include:

  • Checking fluid levels
  • Changing fuel
  • Replacing air filters
  • Upgrading worn-out parts or connections
  • Inspecting the battery
  • Verifying accurate control panel readings

Taking care of these tasks regularly will leave you with a much more efficient system that you can rely on to work as expected in the event of a power failure. Each manufacturer will have specific instructions on how frequently you should perform these tasks. A power professional from Valley Power Systems can also provide you with advice on how to handle generator maintenance.


Need a Generator? Contact Valley Power Systems

Most businesses can’t afford any downtime during a power outage. With the right size generator, you can avoid system failure and keep your operations running smoothly.

Valley Power Systems is your source for everything power in California. Make sure you’re prepared should a power failure occur. Work with our trained technicians to select the right generator for your facility. Contact us today to learn more!