You are on page 1of 3

EE301 Lesson 27

Reading: 19.9
Learning Objectives
(a) Define power factor correction and unity power factor correction.
(b) Calculate the inductor or capacitor value required to correct AC series parallel networks to the desired apparent power.
(c) Compare currents, voltages, and power in AC series parallel networks before and after power factor correction.

Why is Power Factor Important? Consider the following example: A generator is rated at 600 V and
supplies one of two possible loads.
Load 1: P = 120 kW, FP = 1
Load 2: P = 120 kW, FP = 0.6
How much current (I) is the generator required to supply in each case?
Consider Load 1. Since FP = 1, it is the case that S = P.
Thus I = 120,000/600 = 200 A.
Now consider Load 2. In this case FP = 0.6, so S = P/0.6 = 200,000.
Thus I = 200,000/600 = 333 A.
What does this mean? Answer: The source feeding Load 2 has to provide 133 A more
current for the same real power P. The larger current means larger equipment (wires,
transformers, generators) which cost more. Larger current also means larger
transmission losses (think I2R).
Because of the wide variation in possible current requirements due to power factor,
most large electrical equipment is rated using apparent power (S) in volt-amperes
(VA) instead of real power (P) in watts (W).
Power Factor Correction In order to cancel the reactive component of
power, we must add reactance of the opposite type. This is called power
factor correction.
In practice, almost all loads (commercial, industrial and residential) look
inductive (due to motors, fluorescent lamp ballasts, etc.).
Hence, almost all power factor correction consists of adding capacitance.
Solution steps:
1. Calculate the reactive power (QLD) of the load
2. Insert a component in parallel of the load that will cancel out that reactive power. For example, if
the load has Q=512 VAR, insert a capacitor with Q=-512 VAR.
3. Calculate the reactance (X) that will give this value of Q. Normally the Q=V2/X formula will work.
4. Calculate the component value (F or H) required to provide that reactance.
Transmission lines and generators must be sized to handle the larger current requirements of an
unbalanced load.
Industrial customers are frequently fined by the utility if their power factor deviates from the prescribed
value established by the utility.

EE301 Lesson 27
Reading: 19.9
Example A generator, shown below, is rated for 600 V, 120 KVA.

(a) Determine the power factor of the load.

(b) Determine the size (in VAR) of capacitive load (QC) required to correct the power factor to unity.

Example For the circuit shown below:

(a) Determine the value of the capacitance (in Farads) required to bring the power factor up to unity (at
60 Hz).
(b) Determine generator current before and after correction.

EE301 Lesson 27
Reading: 19.9
Example For the system shown below:

a. Determine the value of S, PT, QT and FP. Draw the power triangle.
b. Determine the value of the capacitance (in F) required to correct the power factor to unity (frequency
of 60 Hz).
c. Determine generator current before and after correction