How Long Does it Take to Get a New Stationary Generator Up and Running?

Generator Installation

Figure on a time line of one year. That’s right, one year. Maybe more.

We’re approaching mid-January. It may be tempting to think that you could order a new stationary generator and swap it in before the start of this year’s fire season. Maybe you had set a goal to have a new generator in place before the end 2021. Well, that’s not likely to happen. In fact, getting it installed before next winter will take immediate action. Here’s why.

New Generator Timeline for Commercial Application

Installing a new generator takes advanced planning and patience. Let’s look at a one year plan. A year may seem like plenty of time, but remember it can take even longer.

Month 1: You and an engineer develop and finalize a plan comprehensive enough to submit to your city building department for approval.

Months 2 to 5: Expect 2 to 3 weeks each for your city’s engineering and other departments to review and approve of your plan, depending on the backlog. The larger the generator the more exacting the regulations. At all levels they stream out in a constant flow of change. It is likely that the regulations that dictated the placement and operation of your old generator will have been revised since you had it installed. Even the location of your current generator may not be compliant under today’s requirements for separation from a building, especially with regard to proximity to windows. You will also need an air quality permit. Once you get the green light on your plan you can execute the purchase and begin preparations for the site.

Months 6 to 9: After you have ordered the generator expect four months or more for delivery.

Months 10 to 11: Once you take delivery, there is still work to do. Installation, additional electrical work, startup and testing all take time.

Month 12: testing required for compliance with all regulatory statutes.

This schedule is not absolute – your experience could be shorter, or certainly longer, depending upon the circumstances.

What Some Organizations are Doing to Prep for Backup Power

In some cases, we are helping our customers tackle their backup power plan in two stages. This year, we’re steering them to a) install an automatic transfer switch (ATS), b) do site prep work, like pouring the concrete pad, and c) reserve one of our portable generators for their use in the event of an outage. Meanwhile, they are moving through the process outlined in this post to have their stationary generator in place in time for next year’s fire season.

In the Meantime

Plan on CD & Power advancing with you every step along the way. At the outset we will evaluate your needs, help identify the right type, size, and brand of generator. Next, we will work with you to lay out a plan to smoothly clear the regulatory hurdles specific to your location and engage reputable contractors to execute the work. Once it’s installed, we can train your team to properly monitor your generator’s health so it remains ready to do its job for years to come.

Most importantly, we maintain a large supply of portable generators for you to rent and hook up in the event of a PG&E outage. Just remember, the demand for rentals is at an all-time high. Contact us NOW to assess your needs, make a plan, and reserve the right size generator for your site. Visit this post for more about how PG&E power shut off plans affected us in 2020. It’s unlikely there will be a different scenario in 2021.


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