Electrical Power & Protection

Power-factor correction to cut ­energy costs

August 2019 Electrical Power & Protection

Power-factor correction is a mechanism to reduce operating costs associated with electricity consumption. Some of the key advantages here are reduced kVA charges, improved plant efficiency and network voltage, and reduced overloading of cables, switchgear and transformers.

“The power factor is simply the ratio of actual power (known as active power) used in a circuit, expressed in kW, to the mains power drawn, expressed in kVA,” explains ElectroMechanica (EM) product manager, Artur Socha.

Large industrial, commercial or retail operations can have maximum demand charges applied to their electricity bill. Improved power factor relates to immediate savings on the demand charges. Even sites that have switched to renewable energy sources, such as solar, still need to take power factor into account.

To determine the estimated savings that can be realised by installing a power-factor correction system, Socha reveals that EM recently launched a power-factor correction calculator to allow customers to determine savings if they are being penalised on their electricity bills with a maximum demand charge.

EM is capable of assembling complete power-factor systems, with the option of thyristor (fast switching) or traditional contactor switching, or a hybrid of both. Combined with active harmonic filters, also available from EM, it provides complete solutions for all aspects related to its customers’ power factor and power quality requirements. In addition, EM has a number of accredited partners to ensure customer service and technical back-up support is always on hand.

Two main products from EM play a key role in power-factor correction, namely the Lovato DCRG power-factor correction controllers and Electronicon three-phase cylindrical capacitors. Other features include expansion slots for additional steps or communication modules, the capability to operate with several units interconnected in master-slave mode, a quick current transformer (CT) programming function, and automatic identification of the direction of the CT current flow. The DCRG8 continuously reacts to load conditions.

The EM calculator is available at http://www.em.co.za/site/pfc/pfc.html.

For more information contact Karen Zotter, ElectroMechanica, +27 11 249 5000, karenz@em.co.za, www.em.co.za


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