Engineering Sustainable Energy Solutions

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Many people are simply looking for a backup system that will provide them with power when Eskom is down.

Traditionally a small petrol generator has been the solution of choice but it has several disadvantages: It is noisy, it is inconvenient and it is costly to run. Switch over does not happen automatically. When the power goes out, the generator needs to be started first, then the changeover switch needs to be operated.

In contrast, a battery backup UPS system does not need any human intervention when a power cut occurs. The system will automatically start to operate within a split second.

The system consists of only 2 components: a UPS inverter and a battery bank. The Inverter is connected in the line between Eskom and the electrical appliances. When Eskom is on, the inverter automatically acts as a battery charger and a transfer switch – the appliances run from Eskom power, whilst the battery charger keeps the battery topped up.

When the power goes down, the UPS inverter immediately and automatically utilizes battery power to keep the appliance running. The switchover happens very fast, within milliseconds. When Eskom comes back on, the appliances will run from Eskom power again, whilst the battery charger will recharge the battery. All of this happens automatically and no manual switching is necessary.

UPS systems can be used to back up just a few loads (for instance TV, decoder and a light or two) or they can be engineered to back up the complete household or office. The cost of these systems will depend on the loads and the backup time required. Small plug and play systems to power a TV, decoder, some lights and even a laptop computer can be purchased for only a few thousand Rand.

A modular 1 kW UPS system that can power a small office with lights, computers, printers and switchboard for 3 hours might cost less than R 10 000 fully installed (final cost will depend on component functionality and specific reticulation layout). Backup time could easily be expanded through the addition of more batteries.

Long backup UPS systems could be expanded to become grid interactive solar PV systems. This will require the correct choice of initial components. ALLSOLAR specializes in designing a system that will suit your specific needs and that will perform as expected.