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Power Factor White Papers

The below white papers explain how power quality and power factor correction systems can reduce energy consumption and improve electrical system efficiencies. They also provide information on how to understand and implement power quality and power factor correction systems.

If you require any additional information regarding a specific topic, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Reactive power cannot be avoided, as inductive loads require it in order to generate and maintain magnetic fields. As a result, an electrical circuit will have both active and reactive energy. 

Find out how power factor correction can bring down operation and production costs, decrease your carbon footprint, and improve your power consumption and quality. 

An ideal power factor would be 1.0, but it usually falls somewhere between 0 and 1.0. Because inductance is always changing with the load, maintaining a perfect power factor of 1.0 is impractical and often impossible.

In the following diagrams, we illustrate what leading power factor looks before and after correction, using the sine wave, beer analogy, and power triangle to explain.

Regardless of whether harmonic distortion is present or not, Power Factor Correction (PFC) systems generate heat. Although harmonic blocking reactors produce the majority of this heat, capacitors also produce a significant amount of heat, as well as heating when dealing with harmonic currents. In total, this is approximately 5-7 Watts per kVAr. This means a single 400kVAr cabinet has the equivalent of a 2.5kW heater running continuously. Therefore, all power factor boards require forced air cooling.

See at a glance how each power factor correction system operates, and how they compare to one another. Each system has its own advantages and disadvantages, as shown in this table. 

What is a capacitor?  Capacitors are devices that can store a charge. Physically, a capacitor is made up of conductive plates separated by a dielectric material.

Capacitor-based Low Voltage (LV) Power Factor Correction systems have been the accepted technology for correcting power factor for at least the past 50 years. There have been many improvements in capacitor designs over the years. When properly designed, these systems can be reliable and rugged. However, there are many capacitor-based systems installed that struggle to cope with harmonics, leading power factor, system response time, and temperature issues.

When discussing power factor correction solutions with people across our industry, someone will often mention something about capacitors being unreliable, prone to catching on fire, or similar.

What follows is a list of the most common misconceptions about capacitors, and kVAr Solutions' response to them.

Reactive power is also known as magnetizing power. It oscillates between the consumer and the energy provider at twice the network frequency, and accordingly loads cables, fuses and transformers.