Power factor is the difference between the power needed to perform work and the electrical energy needed so the work can be performed. Think of it as water running down a stream and across that stream is a water wheel. The water that pushes the wheel does the work. Now, just because the water that was not pushing the wheel wasn’t doing any work, does not mean it is not needed. If only the amount of water that did work was sent downstream to the water wheel, the stream would not be deep enough for the wheel to turn. In electricity, we call power that does the work real power, and the rest reactive power. The difference between real and reactive power is known as power factor. Power Systems & Controls solution to fluctuation power factor problems is our Series SC Synchronous Condenser.

To understand why poor power factor is a problem, we have to look at our steam and water wheel in a different way. First, assume that the water that pushes the wheel is used up. The water company charges you only for what you used. However, that is not the only cost to the water company. You needed enough water to turn the wheel, which they supplied, but they also had to keep the stream full enough to make that designated water useful. Therefore, they furnished a lot more water than what was used.

The water company got the water back that you did not use so they really can’t charge you for it. Right? Well, not really because as the water ran down your stream, some of it was absorbed by the stream bed, some of it evaporated, etc. In any event, the water company had losses. Not only that, the water you needed to fill your stream filled up the water companies pipes, which meant they did not have the capacity to sell water to another customer.

Now let’s look at power factor in electrical terms. Real power is measured in watts and reactive power is measured in VAR’s. When you look at your power bill, you are charged based on kilowatt hours. In some parts of the country, the power companies charge an additional fee if the customer has poor power factor. As with our stream, the reactive power you require causes power company losses and the extra VAR’s filled up the transission lines.

With electricity we can reduce the reactive power by adding deivces to compensate for poor power factor. If we know how much reactive power is needed, systems can be utilized to supply power and only take real power from the power company. This reduces the power companies’ losses and in turn reduces the power bill. There are different ways to furnish reactive power and different places you can install correction devices. The best way for improve power factor correction is to utilize a PS&C synchronous condenser system.

Power Factor Correction Solutions: