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Understanding the difference between voltage optimisation and voltage stabilisation

Voltage optimisation vs Voltage stabilisation

Voltage Optimisation vs. Voltage Stabilisation: Which is Right for Your Business?

Voltage optimisers and voltage stabilisers are similar in many respects and investing in this equipment can deliver a saving on your energy bill. A stabiliser is a more sophisticated piece of equipment, but is the extra cost worth it? Here, Ged Hebdige, technical director at Powerdown220, explains the difference between the two technologies and how to make the right choice for your business when deciding where to invest.

Understanding Voltage Optimisation (VO)

To understand voltage stabilisation, it’s easiest to begin with voltage optimisation (VO). With the average voltage supply from the UK National Grid at 242 volts, most consumers are paying for excess voltage they do not need. Since CE-marked equipment is designed to work optimally at 220 volts, installing a voltage optimiser to lower your supply voltage can achieve cost savings.

Cost Savings and Return on Investment

For most businesses I have worked with, the cost saving is around eight percent, and the return on investment is within eighteen months. This makes it an attractive investment for companies looking to save money on their energy bills while also reducing their carbon footprint.

Benefits Voltage Optimisation

Fine-Tuning the Voltage Optimiser

An optimiser typically offers a reduction of between six and ten percent in voltage. You select the appropriate setting during the commissioning process, depending on the supply level and the energy saving you want to achieve. In theory, the higher the percentage of reduction, the higher the saving.

However, if you are too aggressive in lowering voltage, it can backfire. The optimiser will effectively turn itself off or switch to ‘inhibit mode’ if the voltage supply becomes too low. While in inhibit mode, it simply lets voltage from the Grid pass straight through, meaning no reduction in energy consumption and no saving.

Achieving Optimal Settings

Achieving the optimal settings involves a delicate balancing act. This manual process involves the commissioning engineer entering the initial settings and making adjustments after two weeks of data collection. After this initial fine-tuning, the optimiser generally continues to deliver the fixed percentage reduction.

Voltage Stabilisation: Automated Fine-Tuning

While a voltage optimiser has fixed settings, a voltage stabiliser offers a range from zero to ten, 15, or 20 percent, depending on the model. It adjusts the voltage level in real-time to ensure a consistent supply, regardless of fluctuations in Grid supply. This automation makes the stabiliser a more sophisticated piece of equipment capable of providing greater cost savings.

Comparing Savings: Voltage Optimiser vs. Voltage Stabiliser

In the right circumstances, a stabiliser might deliver a cost saving 20 percent higher than an optimiser. However, this 20 percent saving is based on the initial eight percent saving that VO can deliver, translating to an additional one or two percent. This could be beneficial for high electricity consumers, but stabilisers generally have higher initial costs, making the return on investment longer compared to VO.

Voltage Stabilisation

When Is Extra Investment in Voltage Stabilisation Worth It?

Businesses investing in voltage stabilisation often deal with power quality issues. Voltage fluctuations may disrupt a production line, making a stabiliser’s performance enhancement critical. However, for businesses seeking energy savings without power quality issues, the decision hinges on electricity consumption patterns.

Considering Operating Hours and ROI

Facilities consuming electricity primarily during times when voltage supply increases (like late evenings or nights) can benefit more from voltage stabilisation. Operations requiring 24-7 energy use see the most significant savings from stabilisation. For businesses not operating during high-supply times, the ROI for stabilisers may be less attractive compared to VO.

Conclusion: Making the Right Choice

If cost were no concern, the voltage stabiliser would be the clear winner, offering greater reduction in consumption and energy bills through automated fine-tuning. However, this comes with a higher initial investment. In most scenarios, VO provides a similar reduction level with lower capital expenditure and quicker ROI. Deciding between the two requires considering the specific needs and operational factors unique to your business.

About PowerDown220

PowerDown220 helps businesses save money through voltage optimisation. As the leading installer of voltage optimisers in the UK, we provide expert solutions tailored to your energy needs. Learn more at powerdown220.co.uk.

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