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What is a Generator Set?

A generator set (also known as a genset) is used to generate electricity and usually contains the following components:

  • Diesel or gaseous engine.
  • Alternator (turns the mechanical power into electrical power).
  • Base mounting system.
  • Optional enclosure (e.g., sound-attenuating, weather-protective)
  • Control system (e.g., manual, parallel, automatic).
  • Fuel system (e.g., storage, transfer, day tanks).
  • Ancillary systems such as exhaust, air intake, and so on.

From Our Experience …

We have supplied thousands of generator sets used in remote isolated communities, state-of-the-art hospitals, emergency response centres, and industrial and marine services.

We can supply generator sets in standard or custom configurations to provide a product that is right for your needs.

Generator Set Types

Commonly, generator sets are classified as standby, prime, or continuous duty.

Standby Power

In North America, the largest market for generator sets is for standby power. In residential, commercial and industrial uses, standby generator sets provide a reliable AC power supply to carry the home, institution, public facility or business through a utilities power outage.

Because electrical utilities are so reliable, standby power systems tend to use higher engine and generator output ratings. This is because over the entire life of the generator set it may only run a few hundred hours. Therefore there are restrictions on the usage of the generator set. Typically the number of operating hours per year must be less than 200. There is no overload capability.

Standby generators often interact with other building systems such as fire suppression. They are usually started and stopped automatically through a control system that monitors the utility power feed.

Prime Power

A typical prime power generator set may operate an unlimited number of hours per year. Because of this, its power output from both the engine and generator will be less than for a standby generator set. It will allow up to a 10 percent overload from its rating for as much as two hours per day (up to 8 percent of its total operating time). The rest of the time the set will operate under varying load conditions that are less than its rated power output.

Continuous Power

The continuous power generator set may run an unlimited number of hours per year. The load is usually constant at 100 percent of the continuous rating for the engine and generator. This is the most conservative rating for both the engine and the AC generator.

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