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BRE Group Researcher Website
Last edited 21 Sep 2016

Power factor

According to BRE’s The essential guide to retail lighting:

The term ‘power factor’ is ‘…A measure of the phase difference between the voltage and current in an alternating current (AC) supply. For lamp types other than incandescent, the voltage and current waveforms are not exactly in phase with one another: thus the volts multiplied by the amperes in the circuit may be higher than the Watts. In such cases, the Watts represent the active power, and the volts multiplied by the amperes represent the apparent power. The power factor is the ratio of the absolute value of the active power to the apparent power. Ideally, the power factor should be as close to unity as possible. A low value of the power factor increases the current load and the energy consumption. Most high-wattage lamp circuits are designed to have a power factor greater than 0.85.’

--BRE Group

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