Saving Energy Using Power Factor Correction Systems

power factor correction

The electrical power that is directly consumed by equipment is called real power. It is also known as active power or working power and is measured in kilowatts (kW). When a source draws power that is not consumed directly, it is known as reactive power. The measurement unit for reactive power is kilo-volt-ampere-reactive (kVAr). Apparent power is the combination of working power and reactive power. It is measured in kilo-volt-amp (kVA). The relationship between the two is shown by the power factor. More precisely, power factor is the ratio of working power to the apparent power. A substandard power factor means that a plant or a site is wasting electricity and is paying for energy that is not being utilized.

What is Power Factor Correction?

Power factor correction (abbreviated as PFC) refers to the technology aimed at improving your power factor to be economical and viable. Power factor can take any value between 0 and 1, 1 being the most desirable. A poor power factor can have damaging effects on your equipment and operations. In the case of a low power factor, reactive power continues to require current, although it doesn’t contribute much. This prevents the flow of energy that can actually be utilized, through the transmission lines. Therefore, this unnecessary reactive power leads to power loss as well as higher utility costs. Poor power factor also leads to voltage drops as a result of increased energy wastage. It also causes significant wear and tear of the different components of a system. Thus, power factor correction is necessary to ensure the overall efficiency of an electrical system.

How does Power Factor Correction Work?

Capacitor Banks

Power factor correctors are installed at the central power input. They are meant to keep the power factor within the ideal interval. More technically, these are stepped capacitor banks. Power factor correction instruments reduce the total electricity requirement through this bank of capacitors, balancing the inductive load. In addition to this, a current transformer (CT) is also fixed on the faulty power supply’s primary incoming cables. This is done to track the load and relay this information back to the power factor correction units.

Switched Capacitors 

Sites with heavy inductive loads like large motors, warrant the use of switched capacitors. These are capacitors linked with individual motors or a collection of motors.  

Smart Meter

In order to measure the power consumption of devices, energy meters are used. A popular kind of energy meter is a smart meter. Smart metering allows for bidirectional communication. They communicate information related to things like system alarms, parameter ratings etc., to the utility companies. 

Energy Conservation Through Power Factor Correction 

A load needs more electricity to energize than the actual energy that is the standard requirement. This is because there is considerable power loss in transmission. Power factor indicates this increased amount of energy needed. Thus, achieving the ideal power factor level by power factor correction is a critical way to save energy. Other benefits include:

•Reduced carbon footprint

•Equipment preservation

•Greater energy efficiency 

•Sustainable operation

Power factor correction is crucial to ensure the effective functioning of your power sites. It not only helps save on unnecessary power bills but also prevents potential depreciation of capital, therefore lowering overall capital investment. Most importantly, keeping your power factor in check conserves a considerable amount of energy, assuring sustainability. Schneider Electric is one of the top companies offering efficient energy solutions. Explore Schneider’s advanced power factor techniques; visit the #SchneiderElectricIndia website today!

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