What is Power Factor?
Power factor is used to measure the efficiency of electrical output by analyzing the use of electrical power within a facility’s electrical system. It is the ratio of real power used to do work to the apparent power supplied to the system or circuit. A power factor can receive values between 0 and 1. When no real power is present, the power factor is 0. While when all power is real and none is reactive, the power factor is 1. If a company’s power factor is less than 1, it must supply more current to the system to optimize output. A large power factor is better, while a low power factor is the result of inefficient electrical power measurements.
Real power refers to the work-producing power used to run the system or equipment. It is used in electric heating, lighting and electric appliances. The unit of real power is measured in kilowatts. Reactive power refers to the non-working producing power which is used to magnetize and start the equipment. It is a type of inductive load and measured in kilovolt-amperes-reactive units. Apparent power is the product of amperes and volts of a circuit, which is measured in kilovolt-amperes.