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There are a number of ways to provide backup or alternative power for your home
or business. These range from low cost options that require some time to bring
on-line and are of limited capacity all the way to automatic standby generators which can
be sized to power every electrical load on the premises with no action required on your
part. At NoOutage.com we have categorized these options into a set of lettered
configurations for easy reference as described further below. This plot shows the
approximate cost ranges for Configurations A, B and C.
- Configuration A
This configuration is the simplest and least cost arrangement and takes advantage of a
backup power source nearly everyone already has, their vehicle. All vehicles have an
generator under the hood which can be used to provide a limited source of electrical
power. For more on this, see Configuration A.
- Configuration B
This configuration consists of a portable electric generator that is connected to the
electrical loads either via temporary extension
cords, or through a preinstalled transfer
switch directly to your power panel. To view the various methods of implementing
this option, see Configuration B.
- Configuration C
This configuration consists of a fully automatic standby generator and transfer switch
permanently wired into the building electrical system. This costs significantly more
money than configurations A or B due to the equipment costs and because the services of a
licensed electrician are required for installation. For details, see Configuration C.
- Configuration D
This configuration is economically feasible for large establishments that must have backup
power and can justify the higher installation expense. It consists again of a fully
automatic standby generator and transfer switch. It also includes the protective and
control circuits to allow paralleling with the utility source. For additional
information, see Configuration D.
- Configuration E
This configuration is based primarily on the use of alternative energy sources such as
solar photovoltaic (PV) modules, wind generators and hydroelectric generators. These
configurations can be economical alternatives to the high cost of extending utility lines
to remote areas. Since the purchase cost of these systems is usually higher on a
per-watt basis than conventional electricity sources, special attention should be given to
the use of energy efficient appliances. Electric space heating, cooking, water
heating and refrigeration should be avoided and replaced with propane or other fuel
sources. For details, see Configuration E.