What is Power Factor?

What is Power Factor?

Power factor is the ratio of real power (kW) to apparent power (KVA). This ratio can be a value from 0 to 1, and it indicates how efficiently an AC circuit is using electricity, with a value of 1 representing high efficiency. The third type of power, called reactive power (KVAr), causes electronics to be inefficient and draws the ratio closer to 0 by creating a difference between real power and apparent power.

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How to Set a Freezer Failure Alert

How to Set a Freezer Failure Alert

In our last post, we talked about the risks using a meat freezer. The key point was that freezers can fail, and meat freezers may contain hundreds of dollars worth of food. So how can you prevent losing all of this food and money? One way is to add an alert to your eGauge! Alerts can be set to trigger for many reasons, but if you want one to alert you when a freezer fails, you can use something like this:

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A Risky Home Appliance: The Meat Freezer

A Risky Home Appliance: The Meat Freezer

Replacing home appliances is never without some cost. Buying a new clothes washer or dryer takes time and money, and all the while you have smelly clothes piling up, just waiting to be washed. Even though replacing appliances like these can be a pain, it’s easy to tell when they have failed. There are some appliances that fail silently and when that happens it can cost you a bundle. These are the appliances in the far reaches of your home, the ones that don’t get used on a daily basis. A meat freezer is a good example of this type of appliance.

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Why the Whitefish Contract is Suspicious

Why the Whitefish Contract is Suspicious

The Whitefish contract to restore the power grid in Puerto Rico has been making quite a splash in the media. The controversy stems from the high cost of labor being charged by an unusually small company (Whitefish Energy Holdings, LLC). The contract struck between the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) and Whitefish is definitely suspicious, here’s what we know.

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The Status of Submetering

The Status of Submetering

As utility costs continue to increase, many property managers are exploring submetering as an option to save money. Historically, multi-tenant properties would often bill each tenant for a fixed percentage of utility costs. The traditional approach actually benefits the least efficient tenants...

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Utilizing Battery Storage II

Utilizing Battery Storage II

In our previous post, we covered some of the factors that should be taken into account when considering a battery storage system (BSS). Today, we’ll explore several popular battery technologies. Note that all values are approximations based on a variety of market offerings in the US and may not reflect current market offerings, geographical location, or other factors.

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Utilizing Battery Storage

Utilizing Battery Storage

In 1890, the Western Union Telegraph Company utilized a battery storage system consisting of 20,000 zinc-copper cells. The installation was designed to provide power in the event of a utility failure. Modern battery storage systems are designed to meet the same goal. However, the technology has improved significantly -- the cost of batteries, controllers, inverters, and other necessary hardware has decreased to the point where battery storage systems (BSS) are a realistic option for many property owners. There are a number of key factors to explore when considering the purchase of a BSS, including:

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Use It or Lose It: The Residential SREC

Use It or Lose It: The Residential SREC

As hardware installation costs drop and consumer confidence improves, solar installations are becoming more and more common. Small arrays (<10 kW) are becoming cost effective for business and even individual homeowners. A solar array can be used to avoid paying for energy produced by a utility company, and some utilities even compensate owners for the excess solar production that is fed back to the utility. However, this is not the only source of potential income for owners of PV arrays. Many states now allow individual solar producers (including homeowners) to generate additional income by creating and selling Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs). Since SRECs are traded separately from the actual energy produced by these arrays, they represent a potentially untapped source of income with little to no additional effort on the part of the producer. There are a few important terms to understand when learning about SRECs.

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Commercial Demand Charge

Commercial Demand Charge

One of the most frequent topics that I encounter while talking with customers about energy monitoring is the importance of measuring and correcting power factor. In a practical sense, power factor is a ratio of the amount of electrons actually being used by a system divided by the amount of electrons charged to you by your utility. These two values are often very different, especially in commercial buildings where you see large and/or inefficient equipment. While power factor correction gets the majority of attention, other opportunities can provide a less expensive means of achieving efficiency and savings, like demand optimization.

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