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#256929 - 02/26/13 07:42 PM Price Check: Standby Generator
Jesselp Offline
What's Next?
Enthusiast

Registered: 07/19/07
Posts: 263
Loc: New York
Just got quoted a price of $15,000 for a soup-to-nuts install of a 15KW standby natural gas powered generator.

Location in Long Island, NY.

Any thoughts on if this is a reasonable price or not?

Includes the machinery itself, electrical install, pouring a concrete pad to above the FEMA flood hight, runing gas lines, permitting, etc.
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#256930 - 02/26/13 07:54 PM Re: Price Check: Standby Generator [Re: Jesselp]
ILBob Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 02/05/10
Posts: 776
Loc: Northern IL
_________________________
Warning - I am not an expert on anything having to do with this forum, but that won't stop me from saying what I think. smile

Bob

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#256931 - 02/26/13 08:25 PM Re: Price Check: Standby Generator [Re: Jesselp]
bws48 Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/18/07
Posts: 830
Loc: Anne Arundel County, Maryland
I guess location, location and location are the most important things. They go with the market.

In 2010 I had a 8KW Generac automatic standby generator installed, soup to nuts, for right around 5K. Permits, all included. No concrete stand, but a composite material base that seems to be working fine.

Note, that I did not have to have a larger natural gas pipe (from the street to the house) installed (this can be a problem in older areas), but did have to have the "limiter" removed (dig up the limiter near the street and remove it, fix the hole etc.) and a larger capacity gas meter installed. This was included in the price.

I had a previous estimate of 10k: way beyond our means, so some shopping may be worthwile. 5K is a big variation for the same thing. And the company that did it is a big local contractor, and I got a 5 year guarantee.

However, in our area, over last year or 3, there are a lot of "guys with pickup trucks" selling these things, installed. IMO, go with a company that you can expect to be around for a while.

We have been very pleased with our system -- it covers all the critical things in our house, but not everything. We can live with the areas (e.g. bedrooms) that don't get the emergency power.

The peace of mind when you are not home and the power goes out is, well, not priceless, but sure worth what we paid.

Good Luck!
_________________________
"Better is the enemy of good enough."

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#256936 - 02/27/13 12:48 AM Re: Price Check: Standby Generator [Re: Jesselp]
Am_Fear_Liath_Mor Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 3077
Have you looked at solar installations? A 15KW generator seems like overkill and a $15,000 solution to cover the occasional emergency power outages I suspect could be spent more prudently.

A 4KW solar kit, which feeds back into the electrical grid can be had for around £3,300 in the UK. Nothing like getting paid for the excess electrical power generation. With energy efficient appliances an average base load less than 0.5-1.0 KW (excluding heating and cooling) is easily achievable. LED lighting has steadily improved in the last couple of years for example. The Solar PV could then be switched to a back up battery system for electrical lighting, entertainment, comms etc during emergencies.

http://www.buypvdirect.co.uk/PV_Packs/3.4kW_Perlight_Solar_PV_Kit

Typically if a Solar PV kit like this if installed by yourself the pay back break even time to cover the initial investment would be less than 7-8 years.

If having a buried LPG tank is possible then the installation of a condensing high efficiency boiler and hot water central heating installation combined with a preheating solar tank system would further improve efficiency to point that your LPG deliveries might even be more cost effective than heating supplied via the it would seem unreliable electrical grid tie connection.



Edited by Am_Fear_Liath_Mor (02/27/13 12:54 AM)

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#256944 - 02/27/13 02:51 PM Re: Price Check: Standby Generator [Re: Am_Fear_Liath_Mor]
ILBob Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 02/05/10
Posts: 776
Loc: Northern IL
Originally Posted By: Am_Fear_Liath_Mor
Have you looked at solar installations? A 15KW generator seems like overkill and a $15,000 solution to cover the occasional emergency power outages I suspect could be spent more prudently.

A 4KW solar kit, which feeds back into the electrical grid can be had for around £3,300 in the UK. Nothing like getting paid for the excess electrical power generation. With energy efficient appliances an average base load less than 0.5-1.0 KW (excluding heating and cooling) is easily achievable. LED lighting has steadily improved in the last couple of years for example. The Solar PV could then be switched to a back up battery system for electrical lighting, entertainment, comms etc during emergencies.

http://www.buypvdirect.co.uk/PV_Packs/3.4kW_Perlight_Solar_PV_Kit

Typically if a Solar PV kit like this if installed by yourself the pay back break even time to cover the initial investment would be less than 7-8 years.

If having a buried LPG tank is possible then the installation of a condensing high efficiency boiler and hot water central heating installation combined with a preheating solar tank system would further improve efficiency to point that your LPG deliveries might even be more cost effective than heating supplied via the it would seem unreliable electrical grid tie connection.



I don't know how it works in the UK but here it is not as simple as hooking it up. The meter has to be changed out to a different meter so it accounts for whatever power might get fed back on the line. And there are limits to what is allowed by utilities.

In any case, it really does not make as much sense as you might think as you have serious limitations as to when and how much power you will get, and what you get is more or less random. The only way around that involves insanely expensive banks of batteries.

residences (at least in the US) use more power in the evening when PV is not the answer.

here in the US grid tie invertors shut off when the grid goes down so you would have no power at all if the grid shutoff.
_________________________
Warning - I am not an expert on anything having to do with this forum, but that won't stop me from saying what I think. smile

Bob

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#256945 - 02/27/13 03:22 PM Re: Price Check: Standby Generator [Re: ILBob]
Russ Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 4963
Loc: SOCAL
Yep. We've fielded dozens of calls asking us about going to one of the solar systems that feeds into the grid. Our question is always, "Is there an battery back-up option to use the system directly if the grid goes down?" Nope. So there you sit with a 4KW (or bigger) generator on your roof and no access to electricity.

As the $$ become available we will go to a solar system, but only with an off-grid capability.

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#256946 - 02/27/13 05:46 PM Re: Price Check: Standby Generator [Re: Russ]
Am_Fear_Liath_Mor Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 3077
Quote:
So there you sit with a 4KW (or bigger) generator on your roof and no access to electricity.


Only when the sun is not shining. A transfer switch will isolate you from the Grid Electricity during an emergency outage (excess electricity from your PV system during the summer months etc will reduce your overall annual electricity bill when the electrical grid is connected to your premises). That 4 KW generator on top of the roof will allow you to keep other household appliances to keep working, i.e. high efficiency refrigeration, which can cope without being powered for a day or so at a time. The internal temperature of the refrigerator will just oscillate over a greater temperature range. Washing machines could be powered during those sunny days.

If you have a hot water system i.e. a electrical immersion heating system, even the excess electrical power of the 4KW PV Generator on the roof can be used to heat the water, which is useful for washing up and even a hot shower or bath.

A battery system based on LiFePo could be specified to keep the low wattage LED lighting system i.e. < 200 Watts running through out the property during an emergency.

Realistically this would work for 6-9 months during the year. This is mainly a function of geographical latitude.

There are a lot advantages to a Solar PV system. The main advantage is that the Solar PV system will actually pay for itself. The pay back time is a matter of economics, PV solar calculation, your power company KW/Hr rates and even Government Agenda 21 energy policies i.e. the closure of much of the Power station electrical grid network in the future. i.e. rationing and brown outs. It has been reported that the UK will loose 10% of its generation capacity this month.

Installed Gennie sets especially the larger ones will quickly burn fuel at very high rates and resupply of LPG, Diesel, Petrol etc may be of short supply during a long time emergency energy outage situation.

$15,000 gives you a lot of options, putting your funds into a single system that might give you a continuation of your current lifestyle for a week or two at the expense of a renewable energy system for a longer term emergency problem might be a little short sighted.



Edited by Am_Fear_Liath_Mor (02/27/13 06:01 PM)

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#256948 - 02/27/13 06:41 PM Re: Price Check: Standby Generator [Re: Am_Fear_Liath_Mor]
bws48 Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/18/07
Posts: 830
Loc: Anne Arundel County, Maryland
Photo-voltaic with battery back-up might (or might not) serve all requiremeents.

Our basic reason for the genny was to power DW's medical equipment. Although the equipment has limited battery backup, it is for short term (minutes to a couple of hours outtage). We have 1 to 2 day storm caused outtages here frequently. Once, for 7 days. We need the genny for 24 hour/7 day a week coverage if (or rather when) we lose power. And some of the medical equipment pulls a fair amount of power. I don't think a photo-voltaic system with battery backup, could do it...(but I could be wrong---all it takes is money) smile

And I'm ignoring the fact that the Homeowners Association would look dimly on a system on our roof.

So, the natural gas genny for us is a reliable and affordable solution.

As a side note, the guys who did the installation told me that 80% of the units they installed were for people like us--needing back-up power for medical devices.
_________________________
"Better is the enemy of good enough."

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#256968 - 02/28/13 03:54 PM Re: Price Check: Standby Generator [Re: Jesselp]
GarlyDog Offline
τΏτ
Old Hand

Registered: 04/05/07
Posts: 776
Loc: The People's Republic of IL
I would be curious to know what it costs per hour to run a 15KW generator.

Before making a decision I suggest determining your household electricity usage. I know from my own measurements that our household runs on 1,100 - 2,500kw with spikes up to 10kw. I use a product from http://www.wattvision.com to keep track of our usage.

A less powerful generator will cost less per hour to run and give you more run time if you are connected to a finite fuel supply.
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Gary








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#256971 - 02/28/13 05:34 PM Re: Price Check: Standby Generator [Re: Jesselp]
spuds Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 06/24/12
Posts: 822
Loc: SoCal Mtns
IM a solar fanatic but genny's have their place for a lot of folks for sure.

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