Reducing energy use makes perfect business sense; it saves money, enhances corporate reputation and helps everyone in the fight against climate change.
This quick guide introduces power factor correction, discussing practical action that organisations can take.
What is power factor?
Power factor is a way of describing how efficiently electrical power is consumed. It refers to power in an alternating current (AC) electrical circuit, either for a single piece of equipment or all of the electrical equipment at a site.
The power that is drawn from the network can be described as consisting of two parts – useful power and reactive power. Useful power is the power that equipment needs to achieve the task at hand and it is measured in kW. Reactive power is drawn in addition to useful power by a reactive load and is measured in kVAR. The consumption of reactive power does not contribute to achieving the task.
The useful power and the reactive power together determine the power drawn from the network, that is, the total power (also known as apparent power), measured in kVA. Total power is not the linear sum of useful power and reactive power. However, lessening the effects of reactive power will reduce the current needed from the network to complete the same tasks.
Poor power factor has negative implications:
- Draws more current from the network – costing more to achieve the same tasks.
- Can incur a ‘poor power factor penalty’ from the supplier, sometimes called a ‘reactive power charge’.
- Reduces the effective capacity of the electrical supply, – the more reactive power that is carried, the less useful power can be carried.
- Causes losses at transformers and other devices, leading to inefficiency and unwanted heat gains.
- Can cause excessive voltage drops in the supply network.
- Can reduce the life expectancy of electrical equipment in extreme cases.
What is power factor correction?
Power factor correction (PFC) techniques aim to bring the power factor closer to unity by reducing the effects of reactive power. In the great majority of cases, poor power factor is due to inductive loads which can be compensated by adding electrical devices called capacitors into the circuit.
How can power factor correction help me?
By reducing losses and inefficiencies, improving your power factor means you need to draw less from the network, saving you money on your electricity bill.
- Power factor correction (PFC) can prolong the life of electrical equipment.
- It can help avoid voltage drops over long cables and reduce efficiency losses in your supply transformers.
- PFC will increase the effective capacity of your local electricity network – potentially deferring future investment in electrical infrastructure and allowing you to connect more machinery to the same utility connection.
- Typical reduction in electricity bills of 20-30% and avoid any penalties to pay from your supplier.
- Typical payback of system 2-4 years on savings made. Then it will keep on running bringing you savings year in year out.
We cover power factor correction in Leicester and all over the Midlands. Our systems are bespoke and tailored to you not a one size fits all. We cover small domestic properties to huge commercial company buildings, power factor correction is also a fantastic partner with Solar PV. Produce your own electrical energy in the day then your power factor corrected currents from the grid at night or when solar PV is low, the savings are huge!
If you would like a free survey to see how we could help your business save money and reduce costs please click the link below.
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