You have heard the term, but what does it mean?
And more importantly, why should you consider it for your business?
Machines must be supplied with energy to work. For most machinery, more electricity has to be supplied to it than is actually output. A certain amount of electricity is required just to maintain the necessary magnetic field and does not produce any useful work. This is known as reactive (or magnetising) power. Utility companies will generally charge extra for this reactive component to customers with high reactive power loads.
Power Factor (PF) is the ratio of the active, usable power (in kilowatts/KW), to the total -active plus reactive- power (measured in kilovolt amperes / KVA).
So, Power Factor = Usable Power / Total Power Available
A power factor of 100% would mean all power is delivered as active power. A 0% PF would mean all the power is supplied as reactive power. A lower PF costs you money!
The closer your business’ power factor can get to 100%, the better. The reactive power that is used by electrical equipment like transformers, motors, lighting, server banks, and static converters adds additional load to supporting equipment such as generators, transformers and transmission lines. Reactive power can also cause considerable loss of energy through heat dissipation.
Power Factor Correction
PFC, or power factor correction, is the process of optimising the efficiency of your electrical system, to make sure the highest possible rate of power is delivered as active power.
This is achieved by installing equipment capacitors in your premises which generate reactive power . This compensates for the reactive power demand of the inductive load , reducing the amount of KVA which has to be supplied by the distribution network.
The benefits of power factor correction include:
- significant cost savings
- environmental benefits through improved energy efficiency
- reduction in electricity consumption throughout your power system.