Power outages have assumed a very high embarrassing dimension in Nigeria. There are several areas of national life that power outage should never rear its ugly head but alas in Nigeria power outage for several days is common and could happen just anywhere in Nigeria and the only way to enjoy electricity in Nigeria is to use an alternative source. Increasingly, Nigerians are seeing the wisdom in turning inverter solution to mitigate the power supply shortfall we face. Although there are many solutions to the erratic supply in Nigeria but the main added value of inverters, which is the key advantage of inverter over power generator, is that inverters do not require consumables like petrol, diesel or oil and virtually incur no running cost. Once bought, it supplies power for free, until a battery-change. Big money saver that you can’t ignore! Besides, good inverters are fully automated, saving you that inconvenience of change-overs, suffered with generators. In this slightly longish post, we will discuss on various power backup solutions, their pros and cons in different situations and will also help you choose the right one suitable for your need.
Where to Buy Inverter
What are the various alternate power supply solutions?
- Inverter: It is a simple device that stores electricity from the grid in a battery and uses the DC (direct current) power from battery and converts it into AC (alternating current) that is used by appliances. Although interchangeably used, but Inverter and UPS are slightly different and we will explain that later in this post. Inverters are generally good if you want backup for small household appliances like lights, fans, TV, computers, etc. However these days’ bigger inverters can also support Refrigerators, Washing Machines and Mixer Grinders. But then adding these big appliances significantly increases the size of Inverter-Battery system and it is best if one can avoid using them on Inverter.
- Power Generator: Generator sets use the fuel to generate electricity. They generate instantaneous electricity rather than storing it. They are good for larger loads. So if you want to run ACs, Refrigerators, Motors, etc on power backup, then using DG set can be a good solution.
- Solar Power: Solar PV is slowly and steadily gaining popularity and is a great way to generate power backup. Energy from Sunlight is converted into electricity and stored in batteries. However the limitations of Solar Power are similar to that of regular inverters, so they are still not the best solution for bigger loads.
Benefits of Power inverter
Extended Power Supply: Get several hours of backup to meet your power needs.
Zero Running cost: There are no consumables like diesel, petrol or oil to spend money on. Also no frequent breakdowns like overworked power generators.
Noise Free: Power inverter is noiseless. Now you can spare yourself all the generator noise..
No Oil Mess: Power inverter uses no oil, causes no spill or dirt and is a decent appliance like other gadgets in your room.
No Fumes: The Power inverter is a clean device that saves your environment all the fumes of the power generator.
- Auto-run:All the stress of starting, stopping, changing over, topping oil, pouring diesel, cleaning oil mess and all the other tedious chores of managing a generator are eliminated for you. Power invertersrun in automated mode, requiring no manual intervention.
Conserve, Optimize: The Power inverter is an economy device, helping you optimizes. Switch on only your TV and that’s the power you use, all else stays stored. For a generator, it must run at full capacity, burn fuel at full requirement, even if it’s just a bulb you want to light.
In addition to running without consumables, a solid inverter requires minimum maintenance, again saving you the huge expenditure otherwise incurred on maintenance of power generators, especially when used extensively.
First understand your Power Requirement
Before purchasing any of the solutions mentioned above, the most important thing is to understand your requirement. To evaluate the power requirement, it is very important for you to know two things upfront:
- The total load that you want to run on backup: This is essential to get the right size of inverter of power backup solution. And from size we mean the VA value. To get to the VA value, it is very important for you know the wattage (or watts) of each appliance that you want to run on the backup. More details on this are explained in the section below.
- Total number of hours for which backup is required: This is essential to size the batteries that you need (or in DG sets the liter capacity that you need).
To give you a analogy, imagine the car or vehicle that you have. It has a certain CC capacity (like 800 CC, 1200 CC, 1500 CC), which determines the power that the car has. More power can run faster or can take more load. This is similar to the VA value of inverter, which determines the load that it can take.
Types of Inverter and How to Choose One
There are two types of inverters available in Market: Pure Sine Wave Inverter and Modified Sine Wave Inverter (or Square Wave Inverter). The choice will depend on the kind of appliances that you have.
If you want to run electronic appliances (like TVs, Computers, etc) on inverter, then go for Pure Sine wave Inverter, else you can go for Modified Sine Wave Inverter.
Please not Modified Sine Wave Inverter can cause humming noise when used with induction motors like ceiling fans, etc.
Difference between UPS and Inverter:
Although used interchangeably, there is a difference between UPS and Inverter. The basic function and architecture remains the same, but the difference is minor.
The difference between a UPS and Inverter lies in the time in which it can switch to battery power when a power cut happens. A UPS can switch to battery power in 3-5 milli seconds, whereas an inverter does it in 100 milli seconds. The choice between the two will depend on how critical is the switching to backup for the appliances that you want to support. For e.g. a desktop computer would need faster switching as you can lose data if it switches off even for a few milli seconds.
Even in UPS there are Online and Offline UPS. Online UPS are those in which the power is drawn from the battery irrespective of the availability of power from main line. This makes sure that there is no loss of work even for a few milli seconds when there is a power cut. Offline UPS is one where the power is drawn from battery only when there is power cut. All other times it is drawn from mains.
What is the price of Power inverter in Nigeria?
Power inverter tend to vary in price as it depends on a lot of things such as the manufacturer’s production cost, the shipping cost, exchange rate, custom duty fees, the quality, the size and so on. For more info on the price and availability kindly visit www.kara.com.ng for best deals on Inverter and solar panel.