Helpfully, ISO-8528-1:2005 defines basic generator set rating categories based on four operational
categories: Emergency Standby Power (ESP), Prime Power (PRP), Limited-Time Running Prime (LTP) and Continuous Power (COP). In each category, a generator set’s rating is determined by maximum allowable power output in relation to running time and the load profile.
Incorrectly using these ratings can lead to lower generator life, invalid warranties and in some instances terminal failure.
So what is Continuous Power? The continuous power rating is used for applications without a grid power connection, or for units running grid-connected and exporting continuously, relying upon the generator set to provide a steady and constant load for an unlimited number of hours annually. Applications would include remote power plants, using multiple generator sets to achieve a constant load, a “base-load power station.” A base load is the minimum amount of power that a utility must make available to meet a consumers demand for power.
ISO-8528-1 states that a COP-rated generator set must provide power for an unlimited number of hours per year under the agreed operating conditions subject to maintenance levels. No overload is dictated by the ISO standard. Just like the LTP rating, ISO-8528-1 allows the 24-hour average load factor to be up to the full COP rating. Typically, this is around 70% of the Prime Rating or PRP.
If you don't need to supply power at a fixed load? Consider some of the other ISO 8528-1 Ratings:
Emergency Standby Power (ESP)
Limited Time Power (LTP)
Prime Power (PRP)