Power factor is a way of measuring how efficiently electrical power is being consumed, either for a single piece of equipment or all electrical equipment in a premises.

Power factor correction is a way of reducing the amount of current drawn from the power distribution network to operate electrical equipment.  When Power Factor Correction equipment is installed it will reduce the power drawn from the network providing energy and monetary savings.

Power factor explained

Power factor is a measure of how efficiently your electrical equipment is using the power that is supplied. It refers to power in an alternating current (AC) electrical circuit, either for a single piece of equipment or all of the electrical equipment at a site. The total power that is drawn from the network can be described as consisting of two parts – real power and reactive power.

Real power : is the power that equipment needs to achieve the task and it is measured in kW.

Reactive power : is drawn in addition to useful power by a load and is measured in kvar. Reactive power does not contribute to achieving the task and costs the customer in often substantial additional charges.

Total Power  : is the total of real power and reactive power together  - and is the power drawn from the network (also known as apparent power), measured in kVA.


Why install a Power Factor Correction solution?

Installing Power Factor Correction technology will bring the power factor closer to unity (where useful power is equivalent to total power) and as a result reduce electricity costs, improve the quality of power supplied to electrical equipment, and increase the supply capacity. In the great majority of cases, poor power factor is due to inductive loads (eg lighting ballasts, motors, pumps etc) which can be compensated by adding electrical devices called capacitors into the circuit. Power factor correction capacitors enable the system to level reactive power towards "unity".

Power factor is the ratio of delivered useful power to the total power taken from the supply. An ideal ratio is 1.0, that is, a perfect match between power drawn from the network and useful power for the task. This is also known as unity power factor. In reality, many loads do not easily achieve unity power factor due to their inherently reactive nature. However, it is possible to compensate for the reactive power. By doing so, less power will be needed from the network to achieve the same tasks, resulting in energy and cost savings. If the ratio is under 0.85, the power factor is generally considered to be poor. Correction would typically achieve 0.95-0.98.


Fact Check: It is not uncommon for industrial installations to be operating at power factors between 0.7 and 0.8 – which is relatively poor.


At Specialised Energy, we understand that in today’s tough economic climate, many organisations need to reduce their energy bills. At the same time they need to comply with environmental legislation to reduce their carbon footprint.

With over 30 years experience in electrical contracting and with a reputation for quality and innovation, we provide a range of effective energy efficiency solutions. Through quality analysis, advice and products we deliver many different energy reduction solutions to a wide range of businesses. Using established, proven technology, we can deliver the optimal Power Factor Correction unit to improve operating efficiency of electrical systems and reduce electricity costs for our customers.

2014 Ampacity Pty Ltd ABN 76 165 345 844 trading as Specialised Energy
PO Box 4179 Gumdale Qld 4154