Power Factor Correction

Depending upon the rate structure of your electric utility, you may be able to save a substantial amount of money on your electric bill with power factor correction. If you have a utility rate structure that accounts for reactive power consumption, by either a KVA or var demand usage, or has a power factor penalty, power factor correction could quickly save you money on your electricity bill.

What is Power Factor?

The power factor of an AC electrical power system is defined as the ratio of the real power flowing to the load, to the apparent power in the circuit, and is a number between -1 and 1. Real power is the capacity of the circuit for performing work in a particular time. Apparent power is the product of the current and voltage of the circuit. Due to energy stored in the load and returned to the source, or due to a non-linear load that distorts the wave shape of the current drawn from the source, the apparent power will be greater than the real power. A negative power factor occurs when the device which is normally the load generates power which then flows back towards the device which is normally considered the generator.

What causes a low power factor?

A reduction in power factor most often occurs from inductive loads in a power circuit. Motors, fluorescent lighting ballasts and power transformers are common in industrial settings, and they all reduce the facility power factor by causing a lag in the phase of the current. This lag is usually the result of a high starting current required.

How does power factor affect my site?

A typical motor running at 50 percent capacity has a power factor of 0.73. This means only 73 percent of its current goes into mechanical work. If you are charged for reactive consumption, that means you are paying for the other 27 percent of power that your machine is not using. That 27% adds to power losses in the circuit’s wiring and connections. The useless current also requires circuit components to have higher current and power ratings. So you are paying money for electricity that you are not benefiting from, and you are having to pay for more expensive equipment to manage the useless current.

How do I have power factor installed on my site?

We are happy to evaluate your site for power factor correction, and, if you like, additional energy efficiency opportunities that will reduce your electricity bill.

Contact us today.