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What is power factor correction (PFC) and why should it be addressed?

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What is power factor?

Power factor is a crucial part of power quality, essential to your site running as efficiently as possible. Power factor describes the relationship between the power actively used by your electrical equipment for useful output, known as real power, and power that is consumed but isn’t used directly, known as reactive power. Collectively, they make up the apparent power of a site, with the difference between real and apparent power being power factor.

A poor power factor means that your equipment and site is drawing large amounts of power that aren’t producing useful outputs, adding unnecessarily to your energy bills. A typical power factor for a site is between 80% and 90% efficiency, but can fall as low as around 50%, significantly increasing energy costs. High reactive power can also result in penalty charges from your supplier, known as reactive power charges. Poor power factor also increases wear and tear on equipment and associated maintenance costs.

What is power factor correction?

Power Factor Correction (PFC) technology helps to reduce energy consumption and costs by improving your power factor. This maximises the amount of real power drawn from your grid supply, reducing energy bills and inefficiency and avoiding the risk of your supplier adding reactive power charges to your bill. In general, the strain on electrical infrastructure is reduced if Power Factor is good.

Without Power-Factor Correction

Without Power Factor Correction

With Power-Factor Correction

With Power Factor Correction

Voltage Optimisation vs Power factor correction

Unlike PFC technologies, which manage power factor by introducing a reactive load to balance that of incoming power, Powerstar’s voltage optmisdation technology works quite differently. Although improving power factor is not the primary objective of our technology, it does provide some improvement.

Our voltage regulation and optimisation technologies improve power quality across a site, which includes reducing total power consumption, costs, and carbon emissions, with marginal improvements to power factor on top. By addressing the underlying inefficiencies of reactive loads, voltage regulation helps to actively reduce total load rather than introducing additional power as a balancing mechanism.

Improved power factor reduces demand on your grid connection, combine this with the reductions offered by voltage regulation, and you are prolonging the life of equipment and reducing maintenance requirements by supplying it with consistent, optimised power levels.

Powerstar’s voltage regulation shares some of the same benefits as Power Factor Correction systems, but it does not use capacitors. Powerstar or any other voltage management unit alone, cannot bring Power Factor to unity, so both technologies can often be used together on a site for maximum improvements to energy efficiency.

In some cases, if your main goal is a reduction in electricity costs or CO2 emissions, PFC may not be the best option for your business. Unless you have a specific Power Factor issue there may be other, better ways to achieve your business energy goals.

Effects of Powerstar on Power Factor

Effects of Powerstar on Power Factor Correction

 

Powerstar’s patented voltage regulation technologies offer improved power factor as well as helping to further reduce consumption and improve your site’s resilience. Find out more about voltage regulation by clicking here.

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