What is Power Factor?
Simply put power factor is a measure of how efficiently electrical power is converted into useful output.
A more technical definition of power factor is the ratio of the true power (kW) that electrical equipment uses to get the job done and the apparent power (kVA) that is supplied to a circuit. If you’re confused, all this means is that the power that goes in one end doesn’t necessarily match the power that comes out the other. Power factor is presented in a value that ranges from 0 (bad power factor) to 1 (good power factor) and in the real world of industry and commerce, equipment rarely has a power factor of 1. This is due to something called “inductive load” which causes the amps in a supply to lag the volts. The resulting lag is the power factor.
Why Correct Power Factor?
With energy prices seeming to go up at each bill, we all want to make the most of the power we’re paying for. So the most common reason to install Power Factor Correction (PFC) is to maximise the electrical supply into your building. By using PFC equipment, you will be able to run more machines and do more work on the same amount of electrical supply.
Other benefits may include:
- Savings on any Reactive Power Charges you find on your electricity bill as most suppliers charge you for having a poor power factor.
- A reduction in your Authorised Supply Capacity. This is the agreed maximum power you are allowed to use at any time.
- A reduction to your Supply Capacity will provide a saving, as you are charged for each kVA of power which is available to your business.
- An improvement to your equipment service life, since the amount of heat generated within cables, switchgear, transformers and other equipment is reduced at an improved power factor