Commercial Standby Generators

Written By: MJ Logan

Generac Commercial Generator for Backup Power at a Convenience Store & Gas Station

Commercial Standby Generators Built for Business

Few things could be worse for business than missed opportunities or a closed facility. Even worse if potential or existing customers look to another business because the doors are closed. If the power is out, how does food stay refrigerated or frozen?

A Commercial Backup Generator keeps the doors open and business operating as usual throughout a power outage. The ability to provide essential supplies and services or continue business as usual could make the difference between staying in business or closing the doors.

Liquid-Cooled engines can provide enough power for retail, manufacturing, agriculture, and office applications. Small businesses may not use as much power or have the space required for a large generator installation—air-cooled generators provide the power and fit in tight spaces.

Different businesses have widely varying power requirements. An office might require 120/240-volt single phase services. A larger restaurant uses 120/208-volt 3-phase, while a larger retail building needs 120/240-volt 3-phase. Institutional buildings and manufacturing have a range of power requirements best served by a 277/480-volt service and a backup generator to match.

Commercial Generator Catalog

What Size Generator Do I Need?

A city glows in the twilight with power outages in dark neighborhoods.

A generator purchase can represent a sizable investment for a business. In addition to the purchase price, installation costs often equal the generator cost. Buy a generator that is too small and struggle to get by. Too big and fuel efficiency suffers. In the case of diesel generators, too large can also mean the engine never reaches the optimum temperature for clean operation. Eventually, an oversize diesel generator requires additional maintenance.

What Size Generator Do I Need?

One of the most important decisions to make is the rated capacity and the available starting watts, important for large motors in manufacturing, refrigeration, and air conditioning.

Commercial Generator Sizing Guide

Liquid Cooled or Air-Cooled?

CK Power Liquid Cooled Commercial Diesel Generator

A Liquid Cooled Generator has a water pump, radiator, and fan to cool the engine like most cars use a radiator and antifreeze. Liquid cooling is efficient and works better than air cooling in hot climates, especially in the desert.

Air Cooled Generators Standby Generators have a fan that blows air over the engine to remove heat. This works well on smaller generators up to 24kW. However, in places where the temperature regularly rises above 100-110 degrees Fahrenheit, air-cooled generators may not cool themselves efficiently and overheat, resulting in an automatic shutdown.

Liquid Cooled vs Air Cooled Generators: What’s the Difference?

Choose Liquid Cooled or Air Cooled?

Briggs and Stratton 19kW and 17kW 3 Phase Air Cooled Generator for Commercial ApplicationsConsider several factors when choosing between an air cooled or a liquid cooled generator. If your power requirements exceed air-cooled capacity, then a liquid cooled generator is the best option. Space is another consideration. Some liquid-cooled commercial generators require five feet between the generator and the building. Most air-cooled models only need 18 inches.

The cost difference is another consideration. An air-cooled model rated for commercial use will cost less to install, but the rated capacity must meet the business’ needs or the generator won’t supply enough power during an outage.

Buyer Guide to Choosing a Liquid Cooled or Air Cooled Generator

Select the Right Generator Fuel

Diesel, Natural Gas, or Propane (LPG) power most commercial standby generators. Each has their benefits and drawbacks. The most compelling reason to choose one over the other is availability. Natural Gas is available in most communities and provides a virtually limitless fuel supply. Propane is the fuel of choice in rural areas where natural gas is unavailable. It is stored in large tanks on site and delivered by local liquid propane dealers.

Air-Cooled Generators that run on natural gas and propane may have a lower rated capacity on natural gas and a higher capacity for propane.

Engines that run on diesel fuel have a reputation for reliability. Diesel fuel costs more than either natural gas or propane. During long outages lasting more than a few hours, the generator owner/operator must schedule regular fuel deliveries with a local supplier.

How to Choose the Right Fuel for a Generator

Single Phase or 3 Phase Generator: What’s the Difference

Cummins diesel generator at a manufacturing plant

Electrical Power Plants throughout the world generate 3 phase alternating current for transmission across the country. Alternating current changes direction 60 times per second in North America. A single phase current rises to a maximum voltage and falls back to zero, then changes direction and rises to a maximum before falling back to zero to change direction again.

Each phase in a 3 phase system is offset from the next. Current is always flowing in both directions and the voltage is never at zero at the same time in any two phases.

In North America, most homes, farms, and many small business use single phase current which works very well for small appliances and motors up to about 5 horsepower.

3 Phase is better for larger motors in manufacturing, some warehouses and restaurants, manufacturing facilities, and large retail stores. Large apartment buildings often use 120/208-volt 3 phase power.

Single Phase vs 3 Phase Commercial Generator Systems

Generac Commercial Generators

Generac Commercial Generators includes 15kW to 50kW Protector Diesel, 22kW to 80kW Protector Gas, and 80kW to 150kW Commercial Standby.

Generac designs and builds generators in Wisconsin factories, has their headquarters in Waukesha, Wisconsin, and staffs a customer care center 24/7 to answer questions and solve problems.

Generac Air Cooled and Liquid Cooled Generators for Home & Business

Generac Protector Gas and Diesel

Generac Protector Diesel Standby Generator on a Farm for the Home, Barn, and Outbuildings

Generac Protector Generators are Liquid Cooled for better performance and tuned for optimum fuel economy and emissions. Protector Diesel Generators are available in single-phase and 3 phase with rated capacities from 15kW to 50kW. Extended run tanks are available for up to three days run time.

Generac Diesel Standby

Protector Gas Generators run on Natural Gas or Propane with single phase or 3 phase options and rated capacities from 22kW to 80kW.

Generac Protector Series Generators

Generac Commercial

Generac Liquid-Cooled Commercial Standby Generator Installed at a Gas Station

Generac Commercial Generators from 80kW to 150kW bring standby power to large retail, warehouse, and manufacturing operations. The generators use 10-cylinder automotive engines factory set to run on natural gas or propane.

The generators feature Quiet-Test, a weekly self-test that runs at a lower RPM than under load. The digital Nexus Controller handles all functions including transfer switch signaling and compatibility with Generac Transfer Switches.

Generac Commercial Generators

Generac Guardian

The Generac 20kW to 24kW Air Cooled Guardian Standby Generator for Commercial and Residential Applications

Originally designed as a home standby series, Generac Guardian now includes the Generac 22kW and Generac 24kW generators in addition to the 20kW 3 phase generator. A fan pulls air from outside the cabinet and blows it over the engine to assist in cooling. Guardian 22-24kW generators feature the 999 cc G-Force Generac Industrial Overhead Cam Engines with cast iron cylinders walls and plateau honed pistons with plasma moly rings for reduced oil consumption and cooler operation.

The Guardian Generators fit in small spaces, are rated for 18-inch to building installation, and reduce installation and operating costs.

Generac Guardian Features and Benefits

Kohler Commercial Generators

Kohler Commercial Generator Installed at an Office BuildingRated Capacity from 24kW to 150kW in an exceptionally quiet generator that produces as little as 61 dBA noise while running at load and less during weekly exercise. Operation on Natural Gas or Propane provides the same rated power with voltage and frequency regulation to within 1 percent and a Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) of less than 4 percent.

10 seconds after the power goes out, the Kohler Commercial Generator restores power. The industrial grade engines feature hydraulic lifters to eliminate break-in periods and valve adjustments. All Kohler Generators include the OnCue Plus Generator Management System

Kohler Commercial Backup Generators

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Briggs and Stratton Commercial Standby Generators

Briggs and Stratton 60kW Liquid Cooled Commercial and Home Standby GeneratorBriggs & Stratton brings their world-wide reputation as an engine manufacturer to the Commercial Standby Generator industry. Single and 3 Phase Models in liquid cooled and air cooled designs provide backup power to large homes and small to medium businesses.

Three phase Air cooled models include the 17kW 208-volt and the 19kW 240-volt with Amplify a compact footprint for tight locations and installation without a concrete pad.

Liquid cooled single phase and 3 models provide more power for larger operations and a choice between two intelligent controllers.

Briggs and Stratton Commercial Standby Generators

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Cummins Commercial Generators

Gas Station with Standby Generator During an Outage

Cummins Power Generation produces commercial backup generators for homes and businesses. The Quiet Connect Series features liquid cooled engines in single phase and 3 phase configurations for Propane or Natural Gas operation. Models range from 25kW to 150kW to fit any small to mid-sized commercial operation from gas stations and retail to warehouses, agricultural, and manufacturing.

Enclosure design wind-rated to 180 MPH and enhanced to reduce noise. Flexible exercise allows programming to the customer’s preferences—just 2 minutes every six months if desired. Generators arrive cold-weather ready down to -40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cummins 22kW to 40kW

Cummins 50kW to 150kW

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Updated September 4, 2020


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