How Power Factor Correction Delivers Energy Efficiency and Cost Savings

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Renewable energy resources, such as solar and wind, have become important as governments and businesses seek to tackle climate change and minimize CO2 emissions. However, another technology that delivers energy decreases by 10% and more is far less popular, and it is PFC (power factor correction).

For the uninitiated, PFC is a largely under-utilized method to achieve sustainability and reduce energy consumption and costs. But this technology is more effective compared to a lot of green alternatives as it enables enterprises to derive more power from the same electricity amount.

How can power factor correction be used to save energy?

An equipment piece’s efficiency depends on its power factor; lower power factor means less machine efficiency. This inefficiency can hike your utility costs, and you may also get fined for consuming more electricity than allowed by your contract, considering your power factor.

To ensure this doesn’t occur, you should use an energy compensator or capacitor bank. These units perform power factor correction to decrease the power consumed by an AC system to produce its rated power amount. For instance, Schneider Electric’s VarSet capacitor banks perform automatic power factor correction, delivering a power factor of near 1, which means no waste of power.

Power factor correction systems provide the following benefits:

  • Enhanced equipment lifespan and reliability by the filtering of ‘dirty power’
  • Decreased carbon footprint
  • Improvement in available power in your facility
  • Minimized energy waste
  • Attainment of sustainability goals
  • Boost in energy efficiency
  • Considerable electricity bill savings with return on investment typically inside two years

Sounds like the same advantages delivered by wind and solar power, isn’t it? The best part is that you can accomplish these impressive savings in a simple and easy-to-implement manner.

Let’s now look at the technical benefits offered by power factor correction. These include reducing electricity system losses, enabling your current circuits to carry the load for longer periods, and reducing the demand fees on an electricity system.

Avoid penalties for power factor

Some industrial plants use a high number of induction motors to run their conveyors, pumps, and other machines. These motors allow the facilities to utilize low power factor. Many utility power providers levy a power factor fine if it is low (typically below 0.80 or 0.85). You can use PFC to minimize your power factor fine.

Reduce Demand Fees

Many utility providers levy charges for maximum metered demand based on either the highest demand in kilowatts (KW meter) or a part of the highest demand in KVA (KVA meter), whichever is more.

If the power factor is less, the percentage of the gauged KVA will be much higher than the KW demand. You can use power factor correction to increase the power factor and decrease the demand fee and your electricity bill amounts.

Decrease Electricity System Losses

Capacitor installation offers another benefit apart from financial gain through a reduction in conductor loss. It also minimizes power platform losses, particularly in seasoned facilities that have pumping operations in field or long feeders.

Better Voltage

Less power factor leads to higher current flow for a provided load. An increase in line current results in more voltage drop in the conductor, which can reduce the machine’s voltage. An improvement in power factor can make the conductor’s voltage drop almost negligible, thereby enhancing the equipment voltage.

Improve Existing Circuits’ Capabilities

Loads getting reactive power also require reactive current. You can decrease the current flowing in every circuit by deploying power factor correction capacitors at the existing circuits’ edge near the inductive loads. This decreased current flow can permit the circuit to take new loads due to the enhanced power factor.

This helps companies and individuals save the costs of revitalizing the distribution network when more capacity is required for added equipment or machinery, resulting in savings of thousands of dollars. Besides, the lowered current flow also helps the circuit to avoid resistive losses.

We urge you to consult licensed experts or a reliable provider to get good recommendations about suitable electrical systems for your business and also help you understand the different specifications and industry standards!

As our second lead editor, Anna C. Mackinno provides guidance on the stories Great Lakes Ledger reporters cover. She has been instrumental in making sure the content on the site is clear and accurate for our readers. If you see a particularly clever title, you can likely thank Anna. Anna received a BA and and MA from Fordham University.