How do you calculate power factor from the power triangle?

The power triangle is a graphical representation of these three quantities, and it is commonly used in electrical engineering to understand the relationship between them. Here's how you can calculate the power factor:

Determine the values of active power (P) and apparent power (S):

Active Power (P): This is the real power consumed by the electrical load, measured in watts (W).

Apparent Power (S): This is the total power consumed by the electrical load, which comprises both active and reactive power. It is measured in volt-amperes (VA).

Calculate the power factor (PF) using the formula:

PF = P / S

The power factor value will be a decimal or fraction between 0 and 1. If it is closer to 1, it indicates a more efficient system with less reactive power. A power factor close to 0 means that the system is drawing a significant amount of reactive power.

Optionally, you can also calculate the reactive power (Q) from the power triangle using the Pythagorean theorem:

Q = √(S^2 - P^2)

Remember that the power factor is an important parameter to consider in electrical systems because a low power factor can lead to inefficient power usage and increased costs. Many utilities impose penalties on industrial and commercial customers for maintaining a low power factor, incentivizing them to improve power factor correction.