What Is a Commercial Power System?
Commercial power systems are usually monitored to ensure a constant flow of electricity and prevent voltage drop. They also are designed using load flow studies to ensure proper equipment and conductor sizing.
Fuses are the quintessential protective device, limiting current rushes by melting and creating an arc. They can however burn out after a time and need to be replaced.
Power distribution in a commercial power system involves the network of electrical components deployed to supply, transfer and use electric power. This includes the generators that produce electricity, the transmission grid that delivers power to homes and businesses, and the distribution systems that deliver it to individual buildings.
As electricity leaves a power plant, it moves to a transformer substation where it is converted from three-phase AC to high voltage DC for long-distance transmission on the distribution grid. From here, the voltage is adjusted down to a lower level for use in a building’s power distribution system. As the electricity travels along a bus or feeder it passes through regulator banks to prevent an excess or deficiency of voltage. Eventually the electricity reaches a power meter that records the amount used and provides readings to occupants. Then it is transferred to a panel board, which serves a specific zone or floor of the building.
The circuits in the panel board are connected to the electricity bus or feeder with copper or aluminium conductor strips known as buses. Each one carries current for several circuits, and each is supplied from the phase terminal of the main power supply or neutral terminal depending on the installation.
The panel board is then plugged into appliances or other loads, such as lights and air-conditioning units. Loads have varying power requirements and must meet voltage, frequency and surge ratings in order to operate correctly. If not, they may operate erratically or not at all.
Whether powered by coal, oil, nuclear fuel or wind, commercial power plants generate three-phase alternating current (AC) electricity. This type of electricity has much less line loss than direct current (DC) electricity does when transmitted over long distances.
When AC power leaves a commercial power plant it enters a Commercial Power System transmission substation where large transformers step its voltage (in the thousands of volts range) up to high levels that allow it to travel over long distances on the grid. This power is then delivered to large buildings and industrial complexes using transmission wires that resemble giant telephone towers.
Power is delivered to each building in a transmission grid through power lines that carry very high voltages, typically up to 10,000 volts. Regulatory bodies set minimum requirements for the size and reliability of these lines.
Often a backup power system is installed to supply electricity to critical devices in the event of a standard power failure. These systems are usually legally required for hospital equipment, elevators, ventilation and heating and fire suppression systems. The design of these backup systems should be based on the building owner’s priorities and the potential data or monetary losses that would occur in the absence of these systems. Harmonic filters should be included in these designs to prevent distortion on the power lines that can disrupt communication signals and create arcing across switchgear and transformer windings.
The latest commercial power systems provide a range of energy management capabilities. They can monitor consumption at the device level, and use data analytics to identify inefficiencies that can be corrected to save energy. They can even optimize the temperature settings of building systems, automatically manage lighting controls and equipment usage, and participate in demand response programs with a utility or grid operator to help smooth out peak electricity consumption.
The most advanced EMS solutions also allow for connectivity Commercial Power System with distributed energy resources (DER). This can enable the commercial customer to tap into onsite solar and wind power as an alternative to traditional electric power purchases from the utility. It can also allow for integration with batteries and microgrids to increase system resilience and offer additional services that can benefit the community, such as supplying energy to the grid during times of need or providing emergency backup power.
The newest EMS solutions deliver powerful, cost-effective benefits for facilities of all sizes. Many feature a “smart panel” that can track energy usage down to the circuit level, as well as use artificial intelligence and machine learning to present a more user-friendly interface. They can also monitor devices such as breakers, meters and automatic transfer switches in real-time to give facility managers the information they need to make energy cost reduction decisions.
As part of a comprehensive power system, emergency power is a backup system that can keep equipment running during a loss of normal utility power. It also keeps systems that are vital for occupant safety operational, such as exit lighting and fire alarms.
Emergency power in a commercial facility can be required for a variety of reasons, including weather events, planned or unplanned outages and issues with a sub-station. A commercial power system that can keep devices functioning during these situations is essential to maintain productivity and ensure occupant safety.
Depending on the level of disruption, equipment can operate erratically or not at all. A brief interruption will only affect electronic equipment, but sustained interruptions can have more serious consequences. Keeping critical equipment and processes working during these interruptions is important for maintaining productivity and protecting the integrity of sensitive data.
As a result, emergency power systems (EPSS) are typically required for buildings. NFPA 110 dictates the requirements for these systems, which are classified by Level, Class and Type. This classification helps determine what type of generator to use, how much fuel is needed and the minimum number of days an EPSS can sustain operation. It also dictates which components need to be included in your EPSS, such as seismically qualified transfer switches and equipment and rooms that are capable of operating ECIS in recovery mode following a loss-of-coolant accident with loss of Class III power.