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Energy & Utilities

What is Power Factor Correction?

What is Power Factor? 

Power factor is a measure of how effectively electrical power is converted into useful work output in a circuit. It is expressed as a ratio between real power (kW) (useful power) and apparent power (kVA) (total power supplied to the circuit). The power factor ranges from 0 to 1, with 1 representing perfect efficiency or unity.  In reality it ranges from as low as 0.6 to 0.999.

What is Power Factor Correction?

Power factor correction involves adding capacitors to an electrical system to improve efficiency. These capacitors generate reactive power, which helps manage the flow of power in the system. This process is crucial for reducing inefficiencies caused by devices like electric motors and transformers, which introduce reactive power into the system. Unlike active power, reactive power doesn't directly contribute to useful work but instead circulates within the system, increasing apparent power (kVA) (total power supplied to the circuit) and lowering the power factor. By strategically managing reactive power, power factor correction enhances the overall efficiency and reliability of electrical systems in commercial and industrial settings.

Benefits of Improved Power Factor

  • Cost Savings: For users on a demand based tariff, improving power factor reduces the site's maximum demand, resulting in lower utility bills.
  • Increased System Capacity: Improved power factor allows for more efficient use of existing electrical infrastructure, reducing maximum demand, and allowing better utilisation of available capacity. 
  • Optimised Transformer and Equipment Performance: Power factor correction reduces the burden on transformers and other equipment, promoting longer lifespans and improved reliability.

Next steps to improve your Power Factor

  • Power Factor Survey and Inspection:  A PFC specialist will inspect your existing PFC equipment to assess its current health and capacity.  A comprehensive health report detailing necessary repairs and upgrades to restore the system to its original specifications.
  • Quality of Supply (QOS) logging:  To determine the site's required PFC capacity and harmonic protection required, a quality of supply logger is installed on the site's main electrical supply. Engineers will compile a detailed QOS and capacity report to outline the necessary next steps.
  • Detailed Cost Analysis:  Using survey data, the engineering team will create a detailed cost and ROI analysis to support informed capital investment decisions.
  • Implementation:  Depending on site needs, implementation may involve adding capacity to existing equipment, integrating custom-built equipment, or installing new factory-built panels.
  • Real-Time Power Factor Monitoring:  Continuous monitoring provides immediate insights and alerts about power factor performance, enabling quick corrective actions to prevent inefficiencies and reduce costs​.
  • Annual System Maintenance:  Regular maintenance is crucial, with schedules based on site specific factors like heat, dust and load fluctuations. A specialist should inspect and maintain your PFC equipment at least annually to identify and address potential risks and inefficiencies, extending equipment lifespan and preventing unexpected failures​.

For expert advice tailored to your needs, contact Augos. 

Augos delivers comprehensive Power Factor Correction solutions that enhance energy efficiency and reduce costs. By leveraging advanced technology and data-driven insights, they provide precise system sizing, continuous monitoring, and proactive maintenance. This approach ensures long-term savings and operational benefits, making power factor optimisation a cost-effective investment for your business.