What Is Power Factor?
Power factor is the relationship between ‘real power’ and ‘apparent power’. Apparent power is your total usage, made up of real power (which is the part that does the work) and reactive power (which is required by AC systems to operate). Reactive power contributes to your electricity bill but is not actually used.
In other words, a good cappucino includes coffee and froth, but it’s the coffee that does the important work. To get the best value out of your morning cuppa, you want more of the coffee and less of the froth.
Off-grid Industrial And Commercial Installations
For off-grid industrial and commercial installations with a poor power factor (less than 0.8 ), these businesses can benefit from a power factor correction (PFC) system.
Additionally, factors that influence this opportunity are maximum apparent load and maximum reactive load. As stated before, good quality inverters (part of the solar system) can do a fair -but limited-amount of power factor correction, which is insufficient in installations with a poor power factor.
Installing a PFC panel can then reduce the size of the solar system required, as the reactive power generated by the correction system results in a reduction in kVA drawn from the solar system.
For Grid Tied Solar Systems
For grid-tied solar systems in industrial and commercial installations, power factor correction (PFC) can also be beneficial.
However, extra care is required when installing these systems in such installations, especially if there is a possibility of the solar system feeding back into the grid. If the current feedback devices required by the controller are installed incorrectly or if the PFC controller is unable to operate in all 4 power quadrants, the power factor correction system will not operate correctly nor offer the best ROI.