Clean power prevents breakdown.
For those trained in electrical theory, the concept of power factor (PF) used to be fairly simple to understand. However, with introduction of harmonics generated by today’s non-linear loads, power factor analysis has become increasingly
complex which has contributed to many power factor misconceptions. Common misconceptions include:
1. Low power factor is normally caused by electrical motors and other inductive loads.
2. Any leading power factor is bad.
3. Low power factor can always be corrected by adding capacitance.
4. Power factor must always remain high to prevent power factor penalties.
5. Harmonic filters must always be equipped with contactors to switch out capacitors under light loading conditions.
6. Leading power factor is a problem for generators under any condition.
Although a low power factor does indicate that a power system is not being effectively utilized, if this occurs only when the system is lightly loaded and the reactive power component (kVAR) is quite low, there is no need for concern. Only
when the power factor is quite low under more heavily loaded conditions does it need to be addressed. Placing conditions that are too rigid with respect to power factor can lead to installations that are more complex, costly and unreliable
than necessary. And in many instances, a little leading power factor can be effective in compensating for inductive reactive power located elsewhere on the distribution system.