A reliable electricity supply is vital for your online or remote business. If you’ve ever been plunged into darkness or missed crucial deadlines due to a badly timed power outage then I can relate because I’ve been there many times. Frequent power outages could ruin your online business very quickly.
A small leak – they say – will sink a great ship. This implies that there’s no trivial cost when considering your cost of production and electricity is no small leak. When the supply from the grid (NEPA or PHCN as we call it in Nigeria) is just too epileptic to plan around, you become a one-man Government; generating your own electricity among other things…and this is where the fun or misery begins depending on your choices.
Petrol / Diesel Generator VS Inverter; which should you opt for?
I’ve had conversations with several entrepreneurs on this topic and we’ve exchanged strongly held opinions. I’m anti-generator any time any day. I’ve always maintained that an Inverter Set or Power Station are better for a small business or working from home. Why? Here we go.
Note that I won’t be coming from the ‘green’ angle because no source of power is green in the true sense.
Cost Of Purchase
Those who have opted for generators often sight this as their first pro-generator argument. While I agree that this is true, cost doesn’t end at purchase. If the cost of operating a generator quickly exceeds its cost of purchase; is it still a cheaper alternative?
Source Of Power
A generator’s source of power is fuel; petrol or diesel while an inverter’s source of power is anything that can charge it; solar, grid, turbine, generator…etc. This is the second argument I hear from pro-generator people; you can generate your own electricity whereas an inverter is useless without a source of power since its just a store.
Not so fast. Recall that you have the solar option as a potential source (if you wish to go off-grid) and fuel experiences scarcity and price hikes.
Cost Of Maintenance And Reliability
Generators are only fun for the first 1-3 years. After that, they begin to decline really quickly. At this point, your Gen. guy becomes a perpetual visitor for repairs, part replacements. This is not even considering the cost of fueling. Inverter setups require little to no maintenance.
I’m of the opinion that your financial plan should factor in dry spells; months when you have less than the expected or needed cash flow. When months like that come around (and they do), you don’t want to be bleeding cash. An inverter prevents this whereas a generator cuts bigger holes.
Noise And Fumes
Imagine you need to attend to something during the wee-hours. With an inverter, you can have clean, quiet power with just the push of a button. Imagine running a generator at such odd hours; the noise and fumes.
This equally applies to daytime work. I’ve often walked into office complexes and the choir of Generators was just overwhelming. A quiet source of electricity creates a serene environment for yourself and clients.
The problem with generators (like cars) is that you don’t realize how much you’re burning until you pickup the pen and paper. Little amounts daily for most of the year adds up real quick over the years. Inverters help you save these little amounts, Generators burn through them and more.
I do understand that pockets might not be as deep as one wants, hence the initial choice of a generator but I always advise to save aggressively and switch to an inverter set because a generator is just not sustainable or business friendly. Think about it.