What is active, reactive and apparent power?
The relationship between active, reactive and apparent power is usually illustrated by a power triangle.
What is the Power Factor?
The phase angle expresses the degree to which current and voltage are out of phase. A quantity known as the Power Factor (PF) is equal to cos φ. Many power utilities apply a penalty to their consumers for applications with a low, lagging Power Factor. This is because the electric distribution, transmission and generating equipment must be substantially oversized to accommodate the apparent power (sum of active and reactive power and of heat losses), while consumers are billed based on kWh (kilowatt hour) consumption registering active power only. Power Factor improvements often result in substantial cost savings. The PF can be improved by reducing the reactive power by:
- Using high PF equipment: lighting ballasts
- Using synchronous motors operated at leading PF at constant load
- Using PF improvement capacitors
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