Defining Size and Location of Capacitor in Electrical System (1)
Defining Size and Location of Capacitor in Electrical System (1)


Type of Capacitor Bank as per Its Application

1. Fixed type capacitor banks

The reactive power supplied by the fixed capacitor bank is constant irrespective of any variations in the power factor and the load of the receivers. These capacitor banks are switched on either manually (circuit breaker / switch) or semi automatically by a remote-controlled contactor.

This arrangement uses one or more capacitor to provide a constant level of compensation.

These capacitors are applied at the terminals of inductive loads (mainly motors), at bus bars.


  • Manual ON/OFF operation.
  • Not meet the require kvar under varying loads.
  • Penalty by electricity authority.
  • Power factor also varies as a function of the load requirements so it is difficult to maintain a consistent power factor by use of Fixed Compensation i.e. fixed capacitors.
  • Fixed Capacitor may provide leading power factor under light load conditions, Due to this result in overvoltages, saturation of transformers, mal-operation of diesel generating sets, penalties by electric supply authorities.


  • Where the load factor is reasonably constant.
  • Electrical installations with constant load operating 24 hours a day
  • Reactive compensation of transformers.
  • Individual compensation of motors.
  • Where the kvar rating of the capacitors is less than, or equal to 15% of the supply transformer rating, a fixed value of compensation is appropriate.
  • Size of Fixed Capacitor bank Qc 15% kVA transformer

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2. Automatic type capacitor banks

The reactive power supplied by the capacitor bank can be adjusted according to variations in the power factor and the load of the receivers.

These capacitor banks are made up of a combination of capacitor steps (step = capacitor + contactor) connected in parallel. Switching on and off of all or part of the capacitor bank is controlled by an integrated power factor controller.

The equipment is applied at points in an installation where the active-power or reactive power variations are relatively large, for example:

  • At the bus bars of a main distribution switch-board,
  • At the terminals of a heavily-loaded feeder cable.

Where the kvar rating of the capacitors is less than, or equal to 15% of the supply transformer rating, a fixed value of compensation is appropriate.

Above the 15% level, it is advisable to install an automatically-controlled bank of capacitors.

Control is usually provided by contactors. For compensation of highly fluctuating loads, fast and highly repetitive connection of capacitors is necessary, and static switches must be used.

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Types of APFC – Automatic Power Factor Correction

Automatic Power Factor correction equipment is divided into three major categories:

  1. Standard = Capacitor + Fuse + Contactor + Controller
  2. De tuned = Capacitor + De tuning Reactor + Fuse + Contactor + Controller
  3. Filtered = Capacitor + Filter Reactor + Fuse + Contactor + Controller.


  • Consistently high power factor under fluctuating loads.
  • Prevention of leading power factor.
  • Eliminate power factor penalty.
  • Lower energy consumption by reducing losses.
  • Continuously sense and monitor load.
  • Automatically switch on/off relevant capacitors steps for consistent power factor.
  • Ensures easy user interface.
  • Automatically variation, without manual intervention, the compensation to suit the load requirements.


  • Variable load electrical installations.
  • Compensation of main LV distribution boards or major outgoing lines.
  • Above the 15% level, it is advisable to install an automatically-controlled bank of capacitors.
  • Size of Automatic Capacitor bank Qc > 15% kVA transformer.
Individual capacitorsMost technically efficient, most flexibleHigher installation & maintenance cost
Fixed bankMost economical, fewer installationsLess flexible, requires switches and/or circuit breakers
Automatic bankBest for variable loads, prevents over voltages, low installation costHigher equipment cost
CombinationMost practical for larger numbers of motorsLeast flexible

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Type of Capacitor as per Construction

1. Standard duty Capacitor

Construction: Rectangular and Cylindrical (Resin filled / Resin coated-Dry)


  1. Steady inductive load.
  2. Non linear up to 10%.
  3. For Agriculture duty.

2. Heavy-duty

Construction: Rectangular and Cylindrical (Resin filled / Resin coated-Dry/oil/gas)


  1. Suitable for fluctuating load.
  2. Non linear up to 20%.
  3. Suitable for APFC Panel.
  4. Harmonic filtering

3. LT Capacitor


  • Suitable for fluctuating load.
  • Non linear up to 20%.
  • Suitable for APFC Panel & Harmonic filter application.

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Selecting Size of Capacitor Bank

The size of the inductive load is large enough to select the minimum size of capacitors that is practical.

For HT capacitors the minimum ratings that are practical are as follows:

System VoltageMinimum rating of capacitor bank
3.3 KV , 6.6KV75 Kvar
11 KV200 Kvar
22 KV400 Kvar
33 KV600 Kvar

Unit sizes lower than above is not practical and economical to manufacture.

When capacitors are connected directly across motors it must be ensured that the rated current of the capacitor bank should not exceed 90% of the no-load current of the motor to avoid self-excitation of the motor and also over compensation.

Precaution must be taken to ensure the live parts of the equipment to be compensated should not be handled for 10 minutes (in case of HT equipment) after disconnection of supply.

Crane motors or like, where the motors can be rotated by mechanical load and motors with electrical braking systems, should never be compensated by capacitors directly across motor terminals.

For direct compensation across transformers the capacitor rating should not exceed 90 % of the no-load KVA of the motor.

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Selection of Capacitor as per Non Liner Load

For power Factor correction it is need to first decide which type of capacitor is used.

Selection of Capacitor is depending upon many factor i.e. operating life, Number of Operation, Peak Inrush current withstand capacity.

For selection of Capacitor we have to calculate Total Non-Liner Load like: UPS, Rectifier, Arc/Induction Furnace, AC/DC Drives, Computer, CFL Blubs, and CNC Machines.
  • Calculation of Non liner Load, Example: Transformer Rating 1MVA,Non Liner Load 100KVA
  • % of non Liner Load = (Non Liner Load/Transformer Capacity) x100 = (100/1000) x100=10%.
  • According to Non Linear Load Select Capacitor as per Following Table.
% Non Liner LoadType of Capacitor
<=10%Standard Duty
Up to 15%Heavy Duty
Up to 20%Super Heavy Duty
Up to 25%Capacitor +Reactor (Detuned)
Above 30%

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Configuration of Capacitor

Power factor correction capacitor banks can be configured in the following ways:

  1. Delta connected Bank.
  2. Star-Solidly Grounded Bank.
  3. Star-Ungrounded Bank.

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1. Star-Solidly Grounded

  • Initial cost of the bank may be lower since the neutral does not have to be insulated from ground.
  • Capacitor switch recovery voltages are reduced
  • High inrush currents may occur in the station ground system.
  • The grounded-Star arrangement provides a low-impedance fault path which may require revision to the existing system ground protection scheme.
  • Typically not applied to ungrounded systems. When applied to resistance-grounded systems, difficulty in coordination between capacitor fuses and upstream ground protection relays (consider coordination of 40 A fuses with a 400 A grounded system).
  • Application: Typical for smaller installations (since auxiliary equipment is not required)

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2. Star-Ungrounded

Industrial and commercial capacitor banks are normally connected ungrounded Star, with paralleled units to make up the total kvar.

It is recommended that a minimum of 4 paralleled units to be applied to limit the over voltage on the remaining units when one is removed from the circuit.

If only one unit is needed to make the total kvar, the units in the other phases will not be overloaded if it fails.

In industrial or commercial power systems the capacitors are not grounded for a variety of reasons. Industrial systems are often resistance grounded. A grounded Star connection on the capacitor bank would provide a path for zero sequence currents and the possibility of a false operation of ground fault relays.

Also, the protective relay scheme would be sensitive to system line-to-ground voltage Unbalance, which could also result in false relay tripping.

Application: In Industrial and Commercial.

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3. Delta-connected Banks

Delta-connected banks are generally used only at distributions voltages and are configured with a Single series group of capacitors rated at line-to-line voltage. With only one series group of units no overvoltage occurs across the remaining capacitor units from the isolation of a faulted capacitor unit.

Therefore, unbalance detection is not required for protection and they are not treated further in this paper.

Application: In Distribution System.

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Effect of series and Parallel Connection of capacitor

Parallel Connection

This is the most popular method of connection. The capacitor is connected in parallel to the unit. The voltage rating of the capacitor is usually the same as or a little higher than the system voltage.

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Series Connection

This method of connection is not much common. Even though the voltage regulation is much high in this method,

It has many disadvantages.

One is that because of the series connection, in a short circuit condition the capacitor should be able to withstand the high current. The other is that due to the series connection due to the inductivity of the line there can be a resonance occurring at a certain capacitive value.

This will lead to very low impedance and may cause very high currents to flow through the lines.

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About Author //


Jignesh Parmar

jiguparmar - Jignesh Parmar has completed M.Tech (Power System Control) ,B.E(Electrical). He is member of Institution of Engineers (MIE),India. Membership No:M-1473586.He has more than 13 years experience in Transmission -Distribution-Electrical Energy theft detection-Electrical Maintenance-Electrical Projects (Planning-Designing-Technical Review-coordination -Execution). He is Presently associate with one of the leading business group as a Deputy Manager at Ahmedabad,India. He has published numbers of Technical Articles in "Electrical Mirror", "Electrical India", "Lighting India", "Industrial Electrix"(Australian Power Publications) Magazines. He is Freelancer Programmer of Advance Excel and design useful Excel base Electrical Programs as per IS, NEC, IEC,IEEE codes. He is Technical Blogger and Familiar with English, Hindi, Gujarati, French languages. He wants to Share his experience & Knowledge and help technical enthusiasts to find suitable solutions and updating themselves on various Engineering Topics.


  1. You have Published Very Knowledgefull information.Thank for this valueable information

  2. Sitaram
    May 24, 2016

    Dear sir ,
    how much kvar capcitor used in 1250 Kva tranformer (33 kva supply system) for improve this power factor . Now its pf is 0.17

  3. piyush
    Oct 16, 2015

    i have a three phase meter of 11 kva and two motor of 10KW and 5 KW respectively used simultaneously. My bill used to show the power factor between 0.80-0.85. After i installed the Sand Capacitor of 10 KVA the power decreased to 0.63 instead of increasing. Please help me

  4. Great and very valuable information. Keep up the great work!

  5. Eng.robert sakhria
    May 10, 2015

    Dear sir
    I have 400 kva transforme 11kv/400 volt and i am working on connecting a 250 kvar capacitor bank with five stage each one of 50 kvar so i connented two 25kvar together as one stage my question is can i connect 25 kvar capacitor to fuse first then connected to contactor thank you

  6. sona manocha
    Feb 12, 2015

    I am working on to improve pf of my company. I am using a 3 phase power factor meter which reads individual phase pf and then average.

    Could you pl. explain the meaning and significance of average power factor?

    Oct 30, 2014

    En BT si el factor de potencia es superior a 0,7 la regla general es poner un capacitor del 5% de la potencia aparente del transformador directo y un 25% de la potencia aparente del transformador con un banco con relé, a los motores que tienen una potencia elevada en relación al transformador se lo coloca un condensador fijo de un 30 % de su potencia en KW. En Chile tenemos red trifásica de 400 VAC y sistema de tierra TT. Como se indico si hay consumos permanentes en el tiempo sobre 150 KVA se coloca un banco de condensadores de media tensión fijo. Para armónicos se toman la suma de las cargas alinéales en relación con la potencia aparente del transformador, hasta un 20 % utilizar condensadores normales, entre un 20 y 50% se agregan la reactancias de línea de un 7% de la potencia del condensador ( sintoniza a 189 Hz.), sobre 50 %, de cargas alinéales utilizar transformador solo para estas cargas y filtro sintonizado (factor K consultar a proveedor del transformador). Los condensadores modernos soportan 440 VAC en forma permanente por cual aceptan las reactancias de línea que suben su tensión a 430 VAC. Esta información esta en catálogos de las marcas mas importantes de condensadores. Yo trabajo con marcas de Alemania, Japón, Corea y China. Relés de España, Italia y Taiwán, contactores e interruptores de Japón y no he tenido fallas atribuibles a los equipos los cuales cumplen las normas correspondientes. Agradezco al autor el excelente documento cuya información respalda mi experiencia.

  8. Prof. shashikant kewte
    Oct 11, 2014

    hello sir
    thank you for shearing you practical knowledge. Please explore the area of calculation of FACTS devices for p.f. improvement. This will help all new generation student.

  9. vijay patel
    Sep 21, 2014

    may i have some guideline of de tuned reactor for 6.6kv capacitor bank?what are the calculation for selection of de tuned reactor?what are the limits as per standard guideline?
    thanking u….

  10. Ravi
    Sep 16, 2014

    How to calculate the size of Fixed capacitor Bank with respect to Transformer. Irrespective of load Transformer consumes some power, Though our load is switched OFF. so we need to place an fixed capacitor bank enen though we use Automatic capacitor banks for power factor correction. So we need to place one fixed capacitor bank in APFC Pannel how to calculate that fixed capcitor bank.

    Thanking You,

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