In electrical networks, reactive energy results in increased line currents for a given active energy transmitted to loads. This, in turn, leads to a number of consequences, including oversized transmission and distribution networks, increased voltage drops along the distribution lines and more frequent power losses.
The results for industrial customers include a potential increase in electricity costs due to penalties applied by utilities on reactive energy, increased overall kilovolt-ampere (kVA) demand and increased energy consumption within the installations.
Reactive energy management aims to optimise electrical installations by reducing energy consumption and improving power availability. Total carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are also reduced and utility power bills can be reduced by 5% to 10%.
Schneider Electric’s range of VarSet low voltage (LV) capacitor banks for fixed and automatic compensation, assist in balancing for reactive power and harmonic distortion. The units aim to provide a solution that maintains a facility’s power factor at an ideal level for maximum system efficiency.
The objective of reactive energy management is to improve power factor, or ‘power factor correction’. This is typically achieved by producing reactive energy close to the consuming loads, through connection of capacitor banks to the network.
Power factor correction and reactive power compensation solutions have a number of potential benefits for facilities in the retail and healthcare sector, as well as office buildings, hotels, pumping stations, small packaging as well as small industrial facilities. These potential benefits include reduced capital expenses due to optimised electrical system capacity, fewer losses of transformers and conductors, optimised energy consumption and reduced CO2 emissions.
The VarSet de-tuned automatic capacitor banks form part of an anti-resonant power factor correction system that helps in providing power factor correction in electrical distribution networks, where moderate harmonic content exists.
The VarSet standard automatic LV capacitor banks are suited for power factor correction in applications where plant loading is constantly changing, specifically in low-voltage networks, where current and voltage harmonic distortion levels are minimal.
The VarSet fixed power factor correction capacitor is suited for applications where the load does not change and where the capacitor is switched with the load, such as the load side of a motor starter.
Users can select from a range of standard, pre-configured capacitor banks or, alternatively, build a custom solution by mixing available options for specific requirements. The range of LV capacitor banks are type-tested in compliance with International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) European standards 61439-1 & 2, IEC 61921 standards.