Diesel Genset: The (Reliable) 2022 Energy Solution?

The diesel genset, better known as a diesel generator, is positioned to provide a vital source of energy security for the private sector in South Africa. Eskom issued a statement in December of 2021 indicating that the utility provider has failed to meet its air quality standards obligations at a number of major coal burning stations. A consequence of this failure could be stage 8 loadshedding. Stage 8 loadshedding means residential, commercial and industrial power consumers can expect up to 12 hours of blackouts a day, and up to 8 of those hours per day being continuous. Without reliable backup generation, the economic toll of loadshedding will spell disaster in 2022 for income generating properties.

How a Diesel Genset Works

Diesel gensets work similarly to motor vehicles. An internal combustion engine translates chemical potential energy into rotational kinetic energy. However, instead of using that kinetic energy to the wheels on a car, it is used to spin the rotor of an alternator. The alternator component of a genset consists of a rotor and a stator. The rotor, so named because it rotates, and the stator, so named because it is static. The rotor and stator interact to generate voltage via electromagnetic induction. Simply put, diesel goes in and electricity comes out.

Lethabo power station's (pictured) failure to meet air quality standards may disrupt energy delivery in 2022
Lethabo power station's (pictured) failure to meet air quality standards may disrupt energy delivery in 2022.

Diesel Genset Specifications

Some of the most important diesel genset specifications to know about are:

  • Load Rating (kW)
  • Prime Power Output (kVA)
  • Power Factor Rating (%)
  • Fuel Consumption (l/h)

Fuel consumption is an important specification because it will of course help you to calculate the running cost of the diesel genset with current fuel prices. However, understanding the 3 other abovementioned specifications is vital to ensure the genset’s motor or alternator are not exceeded and that the unit is not damaged.

Consider a diesel genset with these specs: 1000 kW, 1250 kVA, and 80% power factor. If this unit is connected to a factory which consumes 1000kW at 1100 kVA then the power factor increases to 91%. The unit will not be damaged because it is still operating within acceptable parameters. However, if the generator needs to output 1100 kW and 1250 kVA, the power factor will increase to 88% but the diesel motor may become damaged because it is only rated to output 1000 kW. The genset can also be damaged if the alternator is overloaded. Consider if the unit is running at 900 kW and 1300 kVA, the power factor will be 69.2%, and it's possible that the geneset may become damaged.

Don’t worry if any of that seems complicated - Inpower is staffed with experts able to analyze your exact needs and select the precise diesel genset unit to provide you with uninterrupted energy.

The right diesel genset, installed and maintained properly, can be the difference between a fresh catch and total spoilage at fish packing facilities.
The right diesel genset, installed and maintained properly, can be the difference between a fresh catch and total spoilage at fish packing facilities.

Where to Use a Diesel Genset

Diesel gensets are used in a wide variety of applications in Cape Town. They’re used in residential, commercial, and industrial sectors:

Cold Chain Warehousing

Temperature sensitive products like meat, dairy, fruit, and medicine (including COVID vaccines) require unbroken refrigeration. That means losing power in a cold-packing plant, or distribution centre is not an option. Considering that the Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations reported in 2011 that approximately 33% of all food produced for human consumption was lost to waste, ensuring unbroken cold chain facilities can go a long way towards battling food wastage.


Food retailers are a vital part of cold chain distribution, ensuring foods are safe for consumption. But that’s not the only reason why uninterrupted backup power from diesel gensets is useful for retail spaces - security systems, elevators, and paypoints must all remain operational for pleasant retail experiences, and commerce, to continue.

Healthcare Facilities

Hospitals, subacute care facilities, and pharmacies all require reliable power sources. Consistent energy can be a matter of life and death where life sustaining medical devices like ventilators are concerned. Healthcare facilities will often use multiple redundancies for their backup power and diesel gensets are more and more often being supplemented by solar photovoltaic arrays.


Diesel Genset: Bottomline in 2022

The bottomline for diesel gensets in 2022 is clear. In the face of unreliable utilities provision they’re essential to the continued operation of hospitals, commercial, and industrial spaces. Diesel gensets are also seeing increased uptake in residential complexes both sectional title blocks, and secure estates. They provide unrivaled value due to their reliability, and versatility. With proper installation, and maintenance performed by trained professionals they can be the difference between business success and bankruptcy. Contact Inpower professionals today for your intelligent power solutions because wherever there is a power problem, there’s an Inpower solution.

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