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Everything you need to know about voltage optimisation technology

Everything you need to know about voltage optimisation technology

There are a range of things you can do to help cut your business’s electricity consumption, whether that’s turning appliances off when you’re not using them or by installing smart meters. But what about using voltage optimisation technology? 

James Goodby, Director at voltage optimisation specialist Powerdown220, explains all you need to know about voltage optimisation, helping you determine if this energy saving technology could be of benefit to your business.

Voltage optimisation is a form of voltage management technology that is installed to lower the voltage of the incoming grid supply to the specific equipment in a business premises. Be it for energy savings, carbon reduction or to extend the lifespan of industrial equipment, it provides a reduced supply voltage for the site’s equipment.

In the UK the average voltage supply is 242V, despite the equipment being rated between 207V – 253V, and designed to work most efficiently at 220V. If voltage levels are too high or too low, it can lead to operational issues or unnecessary energy consumption.

When electrical equipment consumes greater levels of energy at higher voltages, voltage optimisation becomes a commercially viable option.

Does voltage optimisation suit you?

When discussing voltage optimisation, equipment can be split into two categories — voltage dependent and voltage independent. Voltage dependent components vary with voltage changes, while voltage independent equipment remains unaffected by voltage fluctuations.

Put simply, the more voltage dependent equipment on a site, the higher the saving delivered by voltage optimisation.

When considering voltage optimisation, companies often overlook the savings that are calculated over time and how voltage optimisation operates on site. Although equipment, such as LED lighting and inverter drives, deliver low energy and financial savings from voltage optimisation, over time a financial saving of – let’s say – 8% could equate to 60% of a company’s entire consumption.

To put this into perspective, we expect to see savings of between 8-12% on any site from voltage optimisation, meaning that somewhere between 40 to 60% of the consumption has been classed as voltage independent.

What’s more, even on sites where great efforts have been made to reduce electricity costs, with most equipment classed as energy efficient, voltage optimisation is still expected to provide savings of between 4-8%.

Do the maths

If voltage optimisation could be for you then it is time to look at the savings to be made. As with any investment, the return on investment (ROI) and the carbon and energy savings must be measured.

As well as saving on energy costs, voltage optimisation has the potential to extend the lifespan of equipment and significantly reduce a company’s carbon footprint.

Just look at confectioner Kinnertons, which installed a Powerdown220 voltage optimiser and now receives a saving of 7.52% on its energy bills, along with a saving of 40 tonnes of carbon emissions a year.

To contextualise these figures, Carbon Trust’s research says that a 20% cut in energy costs represents the same bottom-line benefit as a 5% increase in sales.

Voltage optimisation might just be of benefit to your business after all, whether that’s in addition to or instead of the range of ways you can reduce your business’s electricity consumption.

However, simply comparing utility bills a month before and a month after installation does not consider the variables of dynamic loads. Fluctuating energy demands and external factors necessitate more sophisticated analysis for accurate quantification of voltage optimisation benefits.

Thankfully, this data can be found in the remote monitoring systems that come with intelligent optimisers, which state the energy, financial and carbon savings being made.

James Goodby
James Goodby
Director at Powerdown220

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