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Home / Technical Articles / How to avoid common mistakes during wiring and startup of power factor correction (PFC) cubicle

Basics about the subject

Power factor correction (PFC) and reactive power compensation (RPC) are often used as synonyms in practice. Although they are similar and mutually dependent terms, they don’t represent the same thing. RPC is a procedure for reducing total reactive power of some consumer(s), usually by adding capacitive load in the form of power capacitors to already existing reactive load which is inherently inductive.

How to avoid common mistakes during wiring and startup of power factor correction (PFC) cubicle
How to avoid common mistakes during wiring and startup of power factor correction (PFC) cubicle (on photo: Rear side of LV switchgear with wired power factor correction cubicle; credit: Engineering company 'B&S')

This procedure, if other relevant load parameters remain the same, will result in PFC, but latter, which simply means increasing of load power factor, can also be achieved by some other means.

For example, if active power is increased while reactive power remains the same, power factor will be increased as well. Similarly, power factor is also dependent on electrical machine’s load factor (actual load divided by rated load value).

Subjects related to reactive power phenomenon have been mentioned in previous articles for several times already. However, this time, a bit different approach will be represented, with focus on devices necessary for automatic PFC operation, and some details related to proper wiring of those devices.

Electronic regulator is the brain of automatic PFC operation. By “automatic” we assume regulation of connected reactive load caused by compensated load variation, independently of measurements or switching operations carried out by operator. This regulation is usually stepwise by nature.

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Miodrag Kokotovic

Graduated from Faculty of Electrical Engineering, within University of Belgrade, in the field of electrical power systems. Expert in electrical part of tender preparation, design, procurement, construction and commissioning of treatment plants and pumping stations, electrical power quality and energy management.

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