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Solar storms blowing the lights out

20 October 2011

We have all been there in the midst of a storm when suddenly the lights go out. Typically, we’re left in the dark for a few hours. But what would happen if a power cut wiped out entire countries for months at a time?

According to National Geographic, “Solar storms are brewing about 93 million miles (150 million kilometres) away, and if one of them reaches Earth, it could knock out communications, scramble GPS, and leave thousands without power for weeks to months.”

A solar storm occurs when the sun emits a wave of charged particles. These particles hit the Earth’s atmosphere and create additional electrical currents. Unfortunately, the additional current can interfere with electricity grids, causing transformers to overheat and burn out. With scientists predicting stronger storms by 2013, and the possibility of it taking up to two years to replace each transformer, it’s putting more pressure on the National Grid, and this could result in an increasing number of blackouts.

So how can you protect your business?
Whilst scientists and power experts are working hard to deal with the possibilities of an increase in the number of solar storms, the best way you can protect your business is with a standby power system. Typically, standby power systems consist of an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) – to bridge the gap between the mains power and the standby power – and an alternative source of power such as a battery, generator or fuel cells – to keep your business operating whilst the lights are off.

The first step in installing your standby power system is to scope the requirement. Typically this involves an engineer visiting your premises to perform a site survey. From the information we collect, we can calculate the level of protection required, design the system and install your standby power solution.

But it’s not enough to simply install a standby power system and forget about it. Often we find that many companies fail to plan for the future. So as their companies grow, the standby power system can become insufficient and unable to support the increasing load.

It’s important that you perform regular health checks on your standby power system. Taking out a maintenance contract to ensure that your system is in full working order and able to protect your electrical equipment when the power fails, gives many businesses peace of mind.

To find out more about standby power systems, or to book your site survey, please call 01488 680 500.

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