Standby Generator Program
The electric grid is very reliable, however, with nearly 3,000 miles of power lines we sometimes experience outages due to severe weather, curious animals, people digging where they shouldn’t be, and vehicles hitting poles and equipment.
For most members, being without power for a few hours is merely an inconvenience, but for others, continuity of service is very important. For this reason, we offer a standby generator program that is ideal for members with a home business, sump pump, medical needs, or simply the desire to always have the comfort and conveniences that electricity provides.
About the Program
We start by making a visit to your location to evaluate your power needs and then help you select a generator size that meets those needs, your budget, and electrical codes. A quote will be provided and if you elect to continue with the project, you will need to 1) contact your gas company for proper sizing and cost (member is responsible for having the fuel source connected); 2) sign a purchase agreement; and 3) pay at least 40% down.
Prior to scheduling installation, you will need to inform the Cooperative of and mark all underground pipes, conduits, wires, tanks, drainage systems and structures. You also need to ensure you have a carbon monoxide (CO) detector in working order.
Next, we will install the system outside using your home’s existing wiring system when possible. Installation includes a concrete pad to ensure stability for the generator as well as a cold weather kit complete with battery warmer and oil heaters. You need to arrange the connection to your fuel source, which can be liquid propane (LP) or natural gas. If using LP, you need to work with your provider to ensure your tank and agreement provide enough LP to run the generator if it runs for an extended period of time.
Once installed, an electrical inspection will be performed by a State of Minnesota Electrical Inspector. The system will automatically run a weekly self-cycle test and will automatically generate power when it senses the loss of grid power.
To ensure the health of the system, we will perform fee-based maintenance on an annual basis.
About the Generator
The generators we have selected for this program are part of the Fortress line of American-made, Briggs & Stratton generators. This dealer-exclusive line of generators is backed by a six-year parts and labor limited warranty that can be extended to 10 years.
This line of generators is protected by a durable, corrosion resistant enclosure and can run on natural gas or liquid propane. All have an automatic transfer switch that starts the generator when it senses the loss of grid power. When power is restored, it will automatically shut off. Watch the following video for a more in-depth look at how the automatic switching works.
These ‘smart’ generators have a power management system that enables you to prioritize which appliances or systems you want the generator to power during an outage so as not to overload the system. Watch the following video for an explanation of how the power management system works.
While the cost varies on the size of the generator selected, a 12 kW or 20 kW system is typically the most common, with prices starting at approximately $5,800, including tax and installation. Price will vary depending on specific requirements at your location.
For more specific information about the generator, click here for a flyer from Briggs and Stratton.
If you’re interested in learning more or want to schedule a site analysis, contact the Cooperative at (800) 214-2694.