Question- What is the best solution to the protection of equipment and systems in an unsteady power supply environment like in Nigeria where power outages take place as frequently as once every five minutes? What is the solution for power alternatives when the power from the national grid is taken and not restored for up to 12 hours at times?
This question has a variety of components and is illustrative of not only the complexity of the electrical environment but of the necessity of multiple pieces of equipment to satisfy the needs of the facility. A cursory review of this situation would lend one to immediately recommend a UPS solution. That answer, while true should lead to number of other questions that must answered in order to recommend the most beneficial solution for the operational efficiency of the facility overall. Questions such as "What type of equipment are we supplying back up power for?"; "How sensitive is this equipment?"; "Is this equipment scattered throughout the facility or are they in close proximity and fed from the same power panel?".
Consider also the reality that if enough questions are not asked, then a square wave, standby UPS solution with 10 minutes of runtime might end up being recommended for a rack of quad core double density servers supplying support for a banking center that needs redundancy, 24/7 support and five 9's reliability!
The other issue in this initial scenario is that each and every time a transformer de-energizes, the propensity for significant surge impulses to be released into the facility and propagate downstream into the critical equipment is immense. A cascade approach to surge protective devices is a key facet of full and complete power quality and efficiency implementation. Secondarily not only will this approach mitigate the external surge sources (which account for 20-25% of the total) but more importantly mitigate the internally generated transients that contribute to long term degradation of microprocessor circuits but most significantly system upsets and is instrumental in preventing software confusion.
Therefore the "answer" to the first question - once more information is obtained - would be a combination the appropriate UPS units and as a system survey to provide a cascade SPD protection for the entire electrical distribution system in the facility.
Once you add in the balance of the scenario into the picture, the recommendation is radically altered. At this point it becomes necessary to evaluate long term power sources such as standby power offerings as in motor generator sets of either diesel, CNG, or similar fuels. More questions are required... what exactly requires 24/7 uptime? The data center? The assembly line? The entire facility? The previous recommendation is by no means negated... and still required in order to fully protect and ready the facility to receive electricity from the stand by power source.
As we have been saying here at ECS for many years and as our research continues to support... there is not a one size fits all, PQ in a box solution. Most every situation requires the assistance of a true professional, a systems integrator experienced in a myriad of power quality products and fields. You can rely upon the experience we have assembled here at ECS as your source, your one stop for any and all power quality needs.