How Capacitor Banks Improve Voltage


The use of capacitor banks to improve voltage on the electrical grid is a widely accepted practice in the power industry. Capacitor banks are composed of several capacitors in series or parallel combinations. Capacitors are electrical components that store electrical energy and are used to compensate for reactive energy, thus improving the overall power factor. With improved stability and greater transmission capacity, rarely experienced transmission losses make capacitor banks attractive for improving electrical grids.

A capacitor bank is an important solution for adjusting the power factor and improving the efficiency of an electric system. The presence of inductive loads in industrial installations causes power factor lags, leading to losses in overall system efficiency. To reduce this loss, the use of capacitor banks is necessary. Capacitor banks are composed of several capacitors connected in series or parallel combinations, allowing them to store electrical energy and compensate for reactive energy (lagging). As a result, the power factor is improved, and greater transmission capacity and stability are achieved with few or no transmission losses. Consequently, the unity power factor is the ratio of real power used to do work to the apparent power supplied to the circuit approaches. This helps ensure the efficient delivery of electricity in industrial settings.

Active power, or real power, is the actual power used to do work and can be measured in Watts (W). Reactive power is the additional energy stored in a capacitor bank that is not used for performing any type of work but can still cause a cost on the electricity bill. It is measured in VAR (Volt-Ampere-Reactive) and its purpose is to create electromagnetic fields around coils or in other words to make motors turn or lights glow. Apparent power is the vector sum of active and reactive powers, and it can be measured with VA (Volt-Ampere). Capacitor banks are designed to store reactive energy, and they are connected either in parallel combinations or series combinations, depending on the requirements of each situation. These banks’ presence helps improve voltage performance by increasing efficiency through lower transmission losses, improved stability, and greater transmission capacity. They also help reduce phase shifts which leads to better overall system efficiency.

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This post was written by Justin Tidd, Director at For nearly a half a century, Becker Mining has been at the forefront of industry safety. Becker/SMC is the industry’s leader in increasingly more sophisticated electrical control systems. Most of the major innovations, design features and specialized electrical components have been developed by Becker/SMC.