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Making A Choice Between Buying An Inverter Or Generator? The Ultimate Guide
Inverter vs generator: which one is better between the two? This is a common question that people ask in Nigeria whenever they are making plans to get an alternative power source.
Electricity is very important in our day-to-day activities. Without electricity, our daily life would be more difficult than it can be. We all make use of phones, computers, TVs, refrigerators, fans, electric cookers and many devices.
These devices all required electricity to run. So what do we do when the supply of electricity is unstable, as is the usual occurrence in Nigeria?
Now I know what you are thinking. That’s the reason why you’re reading this post. The two main power alternatives within your reach are generators and inverters. And you want to know which one is better, economical and more comfortable to use in Nigeria.
Well, I will tell you to search no longer. Everything you need to know when it comes to the inverter vs generator challenge will be answered right here, right now.
We will not only answer the common inverter vs generator questions. You will learn more about generators and inverters. You will also learn how each one can be preferred to the other depending on the situation at hand.
So now, we know that both inverters and generators have the same function; providing you with electricity whenever the grid source is unavailable.
However, they both differ when it comes to the initial cost, convenience and long-term benefits.
In this inverter vs generator post, we will take a critical look at the two power sources and discuss which one is better in Nigeria.
Before we start, let’s take a look at the three (3) different available power sources in Nigeria.
Grid vs Inverter vs Generator – Which Is Best In Nigeria?
This is what everybody knows as NEPA or PHCN in Nigeria. It’s the electricity from power utility companies. They are present in all countries and are also most certainly the first choice for residential areas.
Industrial areas might consider making use of the grid source or not, depending on its frequency and duration.
Generally, electricity from power utility companies is reliable, quick to distribute. They require little or no maintenance at all.
However, this is not always true in Nigeria. The grid source is not dependable and people can go for days without electricity.
Also, whenever the electricity is supplied, it can be too high or low. Either way, it can destroy your home appliances and industrial equipment if certain protective mechanisms are not put in place.
We should also talk about reliability. Except in developed countries, electricity from grid sources is not reliable. There is nothing like a scheduled supply or timetable. Although on some occasions, they have similar patterns and you can predict when the next power supply will occur.
Speaking of price. Electricity from power companies can be expensive at times. This can be a reason to consider other electricity supply alternatives.
This being said, let’s look at the pros and cons of depending on power from electricity supply companies.
Advantages Of Grid Source
- Has the little cost of maintenance
- It’s very easy to deploy
- Most compatible with home appliances and industry equipment
- Generally cheap
- The best option for the low class and people with low income
Disadvantages Of Grid Source
- Unreliable, especially for commercial purposes
- Not always available during extreme weather conditions like rainfall and flooding
- Can damage home appliances and equipment sometimes
- Although it seems like the cheapest, in the long run, it’s not.
Generators are not very expensive to purchase in Nigeria. They are the cheapest, fastest and most common power alternative in the country.
A generator is simply a machine that converts mechanical energy into electrical energy for use. It will be connected and used via an external circuit.
In Nigeria, generators can be used for commercial and also residential purposes. The design, functionality and size depend on the type of power to be generated for the consumer.
Steam Turbine Generator
A steam turbine generator will heat water until it turns it into steam. It will then convert the steam into electricity through an electric generator. Steam turbine generators are most commonly used for large-scale power generation in urban areas.
Fuel generators are usually the first choice for individual users in Nigeria. This is because of their economic operation and fuel efficiency.
We have the diesel generator and the gasoline generator. Gasoline is a hydrocarbon fuel that most people in Nigeria know as petrol.
Petrol and diesel generators are reliable. They offer continuous power to all your home appliances. But there is one disadvantage.
The fuel used in this type of generator has to be replaced regularly. And the price of fuel in Nigeria fluctuates from time to time.
Nuclear generators are also popular, although not in Nigeria. But they are a type of generator, so we should mention it.
Nuclear generators are very reliable and efficient. They can supply stable electrical currents on a large scale. Just like other generators, it also has some disadvantages.
Since it’s a nuclear generator, it works based on the principle of radioactivity and nuclear fission. This means:
It can’t be used in residential areas. Nuclear generators have to be stationed at a safe distance and then connected to houses through connection wires
It releases dangerous gases into the atmosphere
Currently, as of 2022, Nigeria has no nuclear power plants. However, the government knows the potential it will have for our country.
To make possible the introduction of nuclear energy in the future, the Nigerian government has established a relationship with Russia and the Russian State Nuclear Corporation Rosatom.
There are also many types of industrial generators. Your choice depends on the most common power demands. Generally, Industrial generators are designed for places with machines and heavy equipment.
One of the most popular Industrial generators is the solid oxide fuel (SOF), which is a combination of ammonia and flue gas.
Solid oxide fuels have a high mass against volume. This makes it very good for heavy-duty machinery in industries.
In Nigeria, there are also Industrial generators that make use of fossil fuels. Petrol (gasoline), diesel, coal and natural gas are all fossil fuels.
A disadvantage of fossil fuel (also known as hydrocarbon, or petroleum products) is global warming.
During combustion, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) are released into the atmosphere. This depletes the ozone layer.
The ozone layer is a sea of clouds (and a mixture of dormant gases) that protects the biosphere from ultraviolet rays.
Also, another setback of using fossil fuels is that it’s a non-renewable source of energy. The quantity of petroleum in the world is reducing day by day.
This means that the whole world will run out of crude oil in the few decades to come.
General Disadvantages Of Generators In Nigeria
- Generators available in Nigeria are what you will call perfect examples of noise pollution
- Since fuel is usually scarce (and sometimes costly) in Nigeria, buying and fueling generators can cost a fortune in the long run
- Most generators in Nigeria will break down from time to time. This is because they are not designed to last many years if you use them every day
- Generators always need to be used in areas where there is much ventilation
- Air pollution is a common thing associated with fuel generators
- With generators, there is a high risk of injury from burns and asphyxiation
- Generators are also known to be fire-starters because they require highly combustible materials to run
- Generators available in Nigeria may not fully power heavy-duty appliances like cookers, certain pumps, etc
- Low-quality generators can destroy sensitive home appliances. They have a high risk of damaging equipment
An Inverter makes it possible for us to use direct current to run our home appliances. It simply converts the DC in solar panels and batteries to AC that our appliances and equipment can use.
Pure Sine Wave Inverters
A pure sine wave inverter has a pure voltage of 230 Volts and a stable frequency of 50/60Hz. Pure sine wave inverters will run your appliances smoothly as if they are connected to your community transformer.
They are also the type of inverter that can power heavy-duty machinery and equipment. Pure Sine Wave Inverters are the most expensive. They are made from high-quality raw materials that produce steady, continuous and smooth electricity
Modified Sine Wave Inverters
While pure sine wave inverters are made from high-quality electronic components, modified sine wave inverters are made from cheap electronics.
This is the reason why most Modified Sine Wave Inverters are 50% cheaper than Pure Sine Wave Inverters.
A modified sine wave inverter will work with some appliances and equipment, but the overall power efficiency will be reduced. This leads to power and energy wastage.
However, you should consider buying a modified sine wave inverter if your appliances and equipment are not heavy-duty. This is because of the reasons below.
- Modified sine wave inverters are generally cheaper
- They are very cost-effective
- They are the type of Inverters most commonly sold in the Nigerian market.
Square Wave Inverters
Square Wave Inverters are the simplest and cheapest. These types of inverters can be used with simple home appliances and equipment that have extremely low power demands in Nigeria.
Simple machines that have universal motors can be also powered with a Square Wave Inverter. Apart from this, nothing else can be powered.
General Advantages Of Inverters, And Why You Should Choose Them Over Generators In Nigeria
- Are energy-efficient. There is no wastage of power
- Are the best for optimal home performance
- Will run your device smoothly as if they are from your community transformer (or NEPA or PHCN as widely known)
- Power up your home appliances and machines while maintaining their health and performance
- Are compatible with all home appliances and heavy-duty machinery. They can power your fans, refrigerators and microwaves, equipment etc without any risk of damage or malfunction
- Are designed for appliances with high power requirements like Audio and video equipment, industrial equipment and machines, satellite systems, bread makers, light dimmers etc
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Inverter Vs Generator: Which Is Better In Nigeria? – The Final Verdict
- Annual Cost
When you compare the price and cost of maintenance, Nigerians can save up to 50% every year if they buy an inverter instead of a generator. Generators seem very cheap, but in the long run, they are costlier than inverters.
Inverters don’t need maintenance. But generators need maintenance from time to time.
Inverters are silent. Generators are just the opposite. Generators are loud. You can’t run generators at midnight without disturbing your neighbours.
- Eco-friendly Reasons
Inverters are environmentally friendly. On the other hand, generators release chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) that deplete Ozone layers.
- Automation And Convenience
Inverters change over automatically. Generally, all good inverters require 16.6 milliseconds to respond during a power outage.
On the other hand, generators need manual operation. And don’t forget that not all generators start immediately. You need strong muscular coordination, endurance and patience if you want to start a generator.
- Protection And Comfortable Use At Home
Inverters can be used indoors. Generators cannot. You need to run them outside, and at a safe distance from where you stay.
This means you put your generator at risk because it can be stolen. This is not uncommon in Nigeria, especially if your house is not properly fenced.
You should also remember that generators can’t be used when it’s raining unless you shield them with water-proof materials. Also, generators cause fire accidents.
It’s not only economical but also safer to make use of inverters. As for the Inverter vs generator challenge, it’s a clear fact that Inverters are better for home use in Nigeria.