Power factor is the ratio of working power to total power. Low power factor is caused by inductive loads (such as transformers, electric motors, and high-intensity lighting), which are a major portion of the power consumed by industrial complexes. Unlike resistive loads that create heat by consuming kilowatts, inductive loads require the current to create a magnetic field, and the magnetic field produces the desire work.
The total power required by an inductive device is composed of:
- Working power, measured in kilowatts
- Non-working power caused by the magnetizing current required to operate the device, measured by kilovars
The nonworking power required by inductive loads increases the amount of total power in your distribution system, resulting in a lower power factor.