This is one questions that has been on mind since I got an inverter. It’s hard to imagine life without one now, however I realize I still depend heavily on my Gen. Why is that?
For starters, Inverters are equipments that generate enough electricity to power just about anything depending on it’s capacity. They run on batteries that can range from 150amps to 1000amps. They function like your regular computer back up UPS. Therefore they need to be charged either via NEPA or through a direct source like a generator. Mine is a 1.5KVA Inverter and runs on a 2 200amp batteries. A 1.5KVA inverter can only carry regular appliances like fans, TV sets (LCD, Plasma), Bulbs (energy saving bulbs preferably), computers, Home Theatre and can charge your phones even when it can’t carry anything else. The 1.5KVA’s do not carry Fridges, Irons, AC’s, Electric Kettle, cookers, washing machines etc. In fact when installing Inverters an electrician will usually disconnect the AC’s etc from it so u don’t have to always do it yourself or forget to.
The fact that they need to get charged all the time makes them somewhat dependent on Nepa or Generator. Using mine as an example, when they are fully charged they can run for between 6 to 12hours depending on my power usage or length of outage. For example, when I use fans only it can last as much as 12 hours. When I combine it with TV’s and light bulbs it can drop to as low as 6hours depending on how often I turn off and turn on my light switch or how many TV’s I use. Based on the above, can I now do without my Gen? Answer is a resounding NO!
Like I said Inverters have to be charged everyday for it to work at all. Without which they will just be a decorative item. In a period of constant power supply from NEPA there is obviously no need to charge it with a generator. However, there is no such thing as constant power supply at the moment in Nigeria. We use our Gens more than we use Nepa. Whilst suppliers of Inverters may present it as an an alternative to Generator it likely isn’t. In fact, as you buy an inverter, you may consider buying a new generator as well or else it may not charge at periods when Nepa strikes. Besides it doesn’t power your Fridges and other appliances that may be useful to you when there are long periods of power outages. My Inverter cost me N200k inclusive of the batteries. It’s is charged by a 5.5KVA generator which cost me N120k to purchase. It is difficult to estimate how much I save financially using one. I’d attempt to do that in another blog post.
Despite all of these I still think they are important to have. Since I’ve had them I’ve found them very useful for several reasons. For example, we could be going to bed with Nepa and then deep into the night Nepa takes the light. I don’t have to go out that late to turn on the Gen, the Inverters just take over automatically. It also gives you time to decide whether to turn on your Gen immediately Nepa take light. Especially at time when light comes on and goes off incessantly. Inverters also serves as a back up for your appliances when Nepa strikes. Imagine watching a football match and Drogba is about to score (like in the commercial) and Nepa strikes!! Usually Inverters just take over immediately making sure you don’t miss anything. Inverters also do not require major maintenance cost like Generators and they are by far safer. However, just like a car you do need to change the batteries periodically (every 2years depending on your usage). A 200amps battery cost about N50 to N60k depending on where you buy and the kind of battery.
Whether that is enough for you to spend N200k for alternative power supply now depends on your comfort level as well as your financial appetite to spend. But for me I think it’s worth the buy.