What Is A Commercial Generator?

what is a commercial generator


A commercial generator is similar to residential generators that are used to power homes in the event of a power outage or blackout. These generators are larger in size and have a higher power output that allows the generator to power larger business facilities, including key systems and equipment to help maintain regular operations even in the event of a power outage.

Commercial generators are generally built sturdier with components that differ from consumer generators.  Some of the qualities include stronger metals, larger engines, cooling components to dissipate greater heat, and electronics system that produce higher power wattage outputs.

The most commonly used commercial generators are natural gas and diesel generators.

That is the basic explanation of a commercial generator, but why don’t we break them down at a component level?

There are three main parts to a commercial generator, which are the engine, radiator, and generator end (also sometimes called alternator).


A generator’s engine is comparable to any other diesel or natural gas engine in that it converts chemical energy (diesel, natural gas, or propane) into mechanical energy.

It must be stated clearly, that the size of the engine is directly related to the maximum output of power that can be supplied by the generator.

The amount of horsepower that is output from the engine correlates to the maximum output of electricity produced. Some of the engine’s components in a commercial engine are similar to consumer engines, such as the pistons, engine blocks, fuel injectors, crankshafts, and intake valves.


The radiator is attached to the engine.

There are two types of ways to cool a generator. You could use a radiator, which is most commonly mounted next to the engine.

The other common way to cool a generator is by using a heat exchanger, which typically takes cool water from an external source to reduce the temperature of an engine.

The radiator could simply standalone or it could feed to an attachment that is routed to a ventilation system. The radiator helps dissipate heat and keep the generator running cool for long periods of time, especially during heavy use.

Generator End (Alternator)

The generator end is the part that produces electricity by channeling the mechanical input that is supplied by the engine. The generator end (alternator) has two main components that enable it to effectively run and produce electricity. These parts are known as the Stator and Rotor (Armature).

The Stator is a stationary component that contains a set of electrical conductors that are coils wound together housing an iron core.

The Rotor (Armature) is a moving component that produces a magnetic force that cause electrons to move and produces electricity.

How Does a Commercial Generator Work?

Now that we’ve gone over the basics of a commercial generator, let’s break down how it all comes together.

The big question most people have is: how is the fuel converted into electricity?

We’ll explain this as simply as possible, while covering some key differences between the two main types of generators.

1. Fuel Powers the Engine

Fuel is the main source of a power generator, which is fed to the engine. As stated above, the two most common types of commercial generators are diesel and natural gas generators. Commercial diesel generators have a tank attached to them that allows users to fill and supply fuel to the tank to ensure that the generator can continue running. Commercial natural gas generators are connected via a feed or pipeline that allows the generator to consume the gas from a supply pipeline. Regardless of the commercial generator, fuel supplies the generator that allows the engine to run.

2. Mechanical Energy – The Engine

The engine creates mechanical power that can be forced into a circuit to create an electrical current via the Generator End (Alternator).

3. Producing Electricity – The Generator End (Alternator)

The Generator End (Alternator), as previously mentioned, contains two parts – the Stator and the Rotor (Armature). Through the mechanical energy produced by the engine, the rotor (armature) creates a magnetic field that moves around the stator, which produces a difference in voltage between the wound coils of the stator. This produces an alternating current (AC) output of the generator.

There are naturally many in-depth details to each part and component process, but we wanted to briefly provide an overview of how generators themselves work at a macro level.

The Woodstock Power Company Experience

We have industry experts that focus on power generator sets, with in-depth industry knowledge to help you choose the right generator that fits your needs.

We are industry leaders in buying and selling used generators to fit the needs of many businesses, including commercial, industrial, medical, and university.

Our experts are ready to assist you from answering any questions you may have about power generator sets to helping you find the best selection in our inventory based on:

      • Peak & Average Power Requirements
      • Fuel Preference (Natural Gas or Diesel)
      • Portability & Stationary Power
      • Prime & Standby Generator Requirements
      • Available Space & Exhaust Restrictions

We carry only the most top rated new, used, and surplus power generator sets for sale, providing you with a great value generator that will fit your budget.

Our generators have been thoroughly inspected, serviced, and verified, which ensures that you will be buying a quality generator that you can depend on. If a generator is not up to par with industry standards, we make all necessary repairs or modifications, and fully test every generator before we sell. This ensures a full turnkey generator that’s ready to fire up and go!

Due to our wide selection of generator sets, we’re confident that we can find the model that best suits your operational needs and budget.

We also buy used generators in good quality, if you have already upgraded and you’re looking to sell your older model.

Feel free to contact us with any questions, concerns, or inquiries to learn more about the Woodstock Power Company experience and the quality level of products & services we provide.

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