Improving your power factor by reducing wastage can save you a lot of money!

What is Power Factor?

Power Factor is something that affects most businesses.

As well as the power that is used in equipment like heating, lighting, AC motors, Welders etc., known as real power (kW), a site may also draw power which is not directly used, known as reactive power (kVAR).

The combination of two is known as apparent power.

Power Factor is the relationship between real and apparent power (kVA). If your site has a poor power factor, you could be paying for energy that cannot be used.

When you pay for a beer, the last thing you want is more froth than beer. The same thing can be said about power. Froth on a beer is like wasted energy.

Power Flow without Power Correction

Power Flow with Power Correction

Power Factor Fundamentals:

  • If you use euipment containing electric motors like florescent lights, arc welders, airconditioners esxtensilvely, you may have a problem with your power factor.
  • Check your power bill power factor penalties or Peak Load measured in kVA
  • A poor power factor will result in additional electricity costs to your business
  • Obtain expert techincal advice to determine how your power factor can be corrected and install correction equipment, if required.
  • Consider conducting a full energy audit, as these will also usually idenitfy cost effective energy saving opportunities.

Paying unnecessary high demand charges

Demand charges reduced by installing power factor correcting equipment

The advantages of Power Factor Correction

Most electric utility companies charge for maximum metered demand based on either the highest registered demand in kilowatts (KW meter), or a percentage of the highest registered demand in KVA (KVA meter), whichever is greater. If the power factor is low, the percentage of the measured KVA will be significantly greater than the KW demand. Improving the power factor through power factor correction will therefore lower the demand charge, helping to reduce your electricity bill.

Loads drawing reactive power also demand reactive current. Installing power factor correction capacitors at the end of existing circuits near the inductive loads reduces the current carried by each circuit. The reduction in current flow resulting from improved power factor may allow the circuit to carry new loads, saving the cost of upgrading the distribution network when extra capacity is required for additional machinery or equipment, saving your company thousands of dollars in unnecessary upgrade costs. In addition, the reduced current flow reduces resistive losses in the circuit.

A lower power factor causes a higher current flow for a given load. As the line current increases, the voltage drop in the conductor increases, which may result in a lower voltage at the equipment. With an improved power factor, the voltage drop in the conductor is reduced, improving the voltage at the equipment.

Although the financial return from conductor loss reduction alone is seldom sufficient to justify the installation of capacitors, it is sometimes an attractive additional benefit; especially in older plants with long feeders or in field pumping operations. System conductor losses are proportional to the current squared and, since the current is reduced in direct proportion to the power factor improvement, the losses are inversely proportional to the square of the power factor.

By reducing your power system’s demand charge through power factor correction, your company is putting less strain on the electricity grid, therefore reducing its carbon footprint. Over time, this lowered demand on the electricity grid can account for hundreds of tons of reduced carbon production, all thanks to the improvement of your power system’s electrical efficiency via power factor correction.

ABB LV capacitor banks

The most comprehensive solution for automatic power factor correction

ABB ABBACUS MECB is a powerful and compact range of automatic capacitor banks that provide the ideal power factor correction solution for industrial and commercial applications.

Easy to install, operate and service while ensuring exceptional reliability, efficiency and safety. The key feature of ABBACUS MECB is the modular design and versatility for various applications and environments.

Radius Energy is an authorised ABB Power Factor Correction distributor offering complete turn-key solutions

Supply only

Supply and install

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