Small Genset Offers Big Genset Features

Issue 6 and Volume 109.

Historically, most standby gensets have operated on diesel fuel and have not attracted many customers in the retail and other small commercial sectors due to concerns for maintenance, price, noise and environmental issues. A new line of automatic standby generators, specifically designed for commercial applications, is now available from Generac Power Systems that addresses these and other issues.

Generac’s QT Series, which includes gensets ranging from 15 to 150 kW, is specifically designed to meet the needs of small and medium-sized businesses and is priced 20 to 30 percent less than in the past.  “These gensets have been created primarily for the commercial market, making backup power much more affordable for all kinds of businesses, such as convenience stores, gas stations, fast food outlets, restaurants, movie theaters, strip malls and retail stores,” says Mike Carr, manager of marketing communications for Generac Power Systems. 

“Owners of those kinds of businesses have not usually purchased generators,” he says. “Now they’ll reconsider because we’ve addressed the primary environmental, sound and cost concerns that may have held them back in the past.”

All QT Series gensets run on natural gas, providing a significant advantage over conventional diesel generators by eliminating fuel storage, spillage, spoilage, odor and permitting issues. The cleaner combustion of natural gas and quieter engine operation also minimize environmental concerns.

Carr says the economics of investing in standby power will now be compelling considering the impact of significant revenue loss caused by power interruptions. “With QT model gensets priced dramatically less than comparable solutions, the payback computation is simple,” he says. “These generators can pay for themselves during the first extended outage, yet provide decades of reliable service.”

To illustrate the point, Carr cites the example of a high volume drug store.  “If a retail business averages $1,400 an hour at the cash registers, the loss of revenue during an extended outage will add up quickly, not to mention the cost of having employees idle during that time. A 70 kW QT Series genset, with an approximate installed price of $15,600, will pay for itself in just twelve hours of use. Add the advantages of being open while competitors without backup power are shut down and the cost/benefit analysis looks even better. It’s a simple way to safeguard revenue, maintain security, avoid losses, and protect the bottom line.”

The QT Series gives small retail businesses options for standby power not previously available to them. Photo courtesy of Generac.
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All QT models feature sound attenuated enclosures to ensure quiet operation under full load. Interior cooling fans and air passageways are designed for maximum cooling effectiveness and minimal noise. Generac’s new Quiet-Test feature, from which the QT Series takes its name, is a breakthrough in sound reduction, says Carr. “With Quiet-Test, the generator automatically runs at reduced engine speed when utility power is present, making the genset exceptionally quiet during its weekly self-test and exercise cycle. This feature is not available from any other manufacturer.”

Power outputs of QT Series gensets are available for 15, 20, 25, 30, 40, 55, 70, 80, 100, 130 and 150 kW. Both single and three phase electrical outputs are offered along with a variety of voltages. In addition to the full line of natural gas offerings, units up to 40 kW are available in versions that use liquid propane as an alternative fuel.

All QT Series models feature electronic governors and advanced digital computer controls, with system status indicators and a remote alarm option.  Control panel options include the advanced PowerManager G-200 paralleling system controller available on the 100 and 150 kW models.

The QT Series contains two Modular Power System-compatible models (100 kW and 150 kW), which combine and parallel the output of multiple gensets without the use of expensive, space-consuming switchgear. The result is advantages in scalability, redundancy, flexibility and reduced cost not previously available for smaller gas-fired systems.

“It’s now possible to create cost-effective gaseous-fueled modular power systems as small as 200 kW and as large as 1500 kW,” he says. “This brings all the advantages of natural gas to a much wider range of applications at a fraction of the prior cost. For example, a typical 600 kW single engine natural gas genset from another manufacturer costs about $180,000 installed. The Generac alternative consists of four 150 kW QT gensets operating in parallel and costs half that – about $90,000.” p