To understand power factor, the differences between real power, apparent power, and reactive power must be understood.
Apparent Power, measured in volt-amperes [VA] is the total power delivered or consumed by the load and is the product of the voltage and current in the circuit.
Real power is the capacity of the circuit for performing work at a certain time. It is measured in watts [W].
Reactive power is power that is returned to the source without being consumed by the load.
Power factor is the proportional relationship of real power (also called active power) to apparent power. It is used as a practical measurement of efficiency in an electrical system...
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