Power Factor Correction Capacitors are vital to improving the power factor of commercial and industrial electrical installations. Learn more about capacitors and what part they play in the effective reduction of electrical demand
We know that Power Factor Correction equipment can reduce peak apparent power, which leads to increased system capacity, reduced system losses and improved voltage in an electrical system.
However, we also need to know how the various components within a power factor correction system will affect the overall product and what part they play in the overall process.
By understanding the function of each component, it is easier to appreciate the factors which affect optimal component life and therefore the performance of this energy efficiency solution
Power Factor Correction with capacitors
Power Factor Correction equipment generates most of the reactive power drawn by an electrical installation, but what is the function of the capacitors installed in a PFC system?
An electric motor is an inductive load which draws reactive power from the electrical supply to create the magnetic field it requires to operate. This is where capacitors come into the equation – capacitors in a PFC system provide the capacitive power or leading reactive power that cancels out the lagging reactive power used by the motor
In a nutshell, capacitors improve the power factor of a system because by nature most electrical loads are inductive. Think of it this way – the capacitor acts as an antidote to negate the effect of inductive power factor.
However, as incredible as capacitors are, they can fail and at some point they will reach their end of life, which brings us to the next point.
Power Factor Capacitor failure
At the end of the day, Power Factor Correction capacitors do not have an infinite lifespan. Which means that at some point, typically between 5 and 20 years, depending on the quality, capacitors will no longer function optimally.
It is extremely important that the power factor of a system is maintained to the highest possible standards.
Some of the main causes of Power Factor Correction capacitor failure are:
- Component end-of-life (typically around 5-15 years)
- Incorrect installation
- Inferior quality
- Voltage surges
- Elevated harmonic levels
- Elevated operating temperatures
- Dirty environment
- Lack of maintenance
There are many other factors that can contribute to the failure of Power Factor Correction capacitors. This is why it is so important to understand what a capacitor does and how it could fail. By understanding the function of a capacitor, you are able to prolong the overall lifespan and optimize the return of your investment in Power Factor Correction equipment
However, there are other cases where Power Factor Correction capacitors of poor quality fail catastrophically and explode or self-ignite, resulting in fires which are very difficult to extinguish
What we can do for you
At Alpha Power Solutions, we understand the need for high performance and the importance of equipment longevity, which is why our capacitors are designed to provide optimal performance and life cycle cost.
Power impacts your business’ profitability. With our Power Factor Correction equipment, you can increase your electrical supply capacity while reducing your utility expenses and power transmission losses.
We are also equipped with the knowledge and skills to prevent premature failure of Power Factor Correction capacitors, which are the key component in any PFC system. Let us assist you in optimizing the power factor of your plant for profitability, long-term benefits and peace of mind.