Energy Cost Savings with Automatic Capacitors


Automatic capacitor banks can reduce the monthly electric utility costs by improving the power factor. Many utility bills do not display directly the charge for low power factor. They often bundle the cost in with the “Demand Charges.” Manufacturers of automatic capacitors have technical support departments that can interpret the utility bills and provide return on investment information.

Whether you are the trusted electrical contractor or a facility engineer, return on investment simplifies the decision making. The manufacturer needs a copy of the utility billing for the last 12 months, a single-line drawing, identification of existing capacitors, and finally some electrical measurements at the service entrance. Added to that is the electrical contractor installation cost so that the manufacturer can provide a proposal with an accurate ROI.

Utilities have widely varying rate structures. The same facility served by a different utility could have enormous savings or the project might not save anything.

Schneider Electric manufactures the ReactiVarTM AV5000 automatic capacitor bank. They provide selection help and, in addition, they have some key product features. This unit has modularity for economical future upgrades. It is adaptable to most locations because it uses dry-type capacitors suitable for inside office buildings. It’s also available for outdoor applications.

Schneider Electric has been manufacturing power factor correction units for 30 years. As result, they have designed in operational ease. The controller is set at a target power factor, and then the contactors automatically switch to hold the set-point. If some capacitors are overloaded, a resettable circuit breaker will trip instead of a fuse opening or the capacitors overheating.

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