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Power factor of an AC electrical power system is defined the ratio of the actual electrical

power dissipated by an AC circuit to the product of the r.m.s. values of current and voltage.
The difference between the two is caused by reactance in the circuit and represents power
that does no useful work.In the supply system normally the power factor is lower then 0.8 for
the overall load.
Low Power factor is very undesirable, because it hampers the economic parameters for the
power generation and distribution.

Causes of Low Power factor:

The main cause of low p.f. is Inductive Load. As in pure inductive circuit, Current lags
90° from Voltage, this large difference of phase angle between current and voltage
causes zero power factor. Basically, all those circuit having Capacitance and
inductance (except resonance circuit (or Tune Circuit) where inductive reactance =
capacitive reactance (XL = Xc), so the circuit becomes a resistive circuit), power factor
would be exist over there because Capacitance and inductance causes in difference
of phase angle (θ) between current and voltage.. The following are the causes of low
power factor in power system.

1. Most of the AC motors are induction type whether it is single phase or three
phase which have low power factor. Generally, induction motors have lesser
power factor during light loads (0.2 to 0.3) and increase it to 0.8 or 0.9 at full
load. So Operating the induction motors at lesser load reduces the overall
power factor of the system. The motor selection should be proper at it should
be always operated at maximum rated power to improve the power factor of
power system.
2. The loads like Arc lams, electric discharge lams and an industrial heating
furnace operates at lesser power factor.
3. We know that the load on the power systems varies from high to low as per
demand. During low load periods due to high supply voltage increases the
magnetization current which causes the low power factor of the power system.

So a power factor correction device typically includes nothing but a capacitor that is to
be connected in parallel as the additional load. The effect of these two opposing
reactances in parallel is to bring the circuit's total reactive power close to zero.

This correction, of course, will not change the amount of true power consumed by the
load, but it will result in a substantial reduction of apparent power, and of the total
current drawn from the 230 Volt source. Methods to Increase Power Factor and Load
Types Electrical system designers endeavor to increase the PF to as near as 1.0 as
possible by incorporating P.F. ‘corrector’ devices within the system. P.F. correction
methods adopted depend on whether the load is termed linear or non-linear.
 Linear Load - These are loads such as induction motors and transformers
and can be corrected with the addition of a passive network of capacitors or
inductors. Capacitors store electrical power that can be used to excite the
internal magnetic fields and reduce the required apparent power kVA.
 Non- Linear Load - These are loads include equipment that has components
such as rectifiers, some form of arc discharge such as fluorescent lamps,
electric welders, arc furnaces, etc. This type of load will distort the current
drawn into a system. The current in non-linear loads is interrupted by
switching devices within the equipment. Switching causes the current to
contain frequency components that have multiple power factor frequencies.
For non-linear loads captive or passive power factor correction can be
incorporated to counter the distortion and elevate the P.F.. P.F. correction
devices can be installed either at a central substation, spread throughout the
distribution system, or built into the power-consuming equipment
 Non Reactive Loads - These loads are purely resistive such as heater
elements and incandescent lights and do not effect P.F..