How do you improve Power Factor?
There are various improvements that can be made within an
electrical system which will assist in the improvement of the
facilities Power factor.
The replacement of existing motors with more energy efficient
ones; ensuring motors are properly sized for their application and
duty cycle; the use of high power factor lighting ballasts; and the
Installation of Power Capacitors to name a few.
The installation of Power Capacitors is by far perhaps the most
straight forward and most cost efficient method of improving a
facilities Power Factor.
Ideally, to derive the maximum benefit, properly sized static
capacitor banks should be located as close as possible to the
Most times however, this may not be the most cost effective
method of correction due to the sheer number of static capacitor
banks that are required in a large electrical environment.
A more economical method is the installation of a centrally
located automatic switching power factor correction bank (APFC).
This capacitor bank is controlled by a microprocessor-based relay,
which continually monitors the reactive power requirements. The
relay then connects or disconnects capacitors to supply capacitance
Often times, we can take advantage of the use of both types of
correction. Static capacitor banks can be placed at strategic
locations through out facility while implementing an APFC to handle
the remaining requirements for capacitance. Generally, APFCs are
placed centrally at the main electrical panel.
Regardless of which strategy is implemented careful planning
should be undertaken to ensure maximum benefit is derived from the
correction. Other factors that need to be taken into consideration
during this planning phase is Harmonics on the electrical system as
well as know future expansions to the facility.