Capacitor Bank: Learn the Purpose, Cost, and Lead Time to Procure

Capacitor bank
Capacitors in an outdoor rack

Purpose of capacitor bank

Capacitors consume active power and release reactive power. They also present a low impedance to harmonics in other words they attract harmonic frequencies. Thus, they are installed in substations to:

  • Correct power factor by injecting reactive volt-amp a.k.a. VARs.
Capacitor bank
Capacitor bank for power factor correction implemented at extra high voltage. Image credit: Mead substation – Western Area Power
  • Minimize voltage fluctuations using harmonic filter banks.
  • Improve power quality. Capacitors are an integral piece of Flexible AC Transmission (FACT) device. Some of the FACT devices are:
    1. Static Var Compensator: Used to provide reactive power support (either consume VARS using inductors or release VARS using capacitors – each device plugged into the circuit using thyristor valves) and to filter out harmonics
    2. Series capacitors on high voltage transmission line: Used to maximize power flow on the line by consuming lagging Vars, improve the steady-state and dynamic stability of the power system (by preventing the generators from operating at the maximum allowable power angle. Learn more)
Capacitor Bank: Learn the Purpose, Cost, and Lead Time to Procure 1
Static VAR Compensator. It’s not one piece of equipment, it’s a combination of inductors , capacitors, power electronics, switching devices, transformer, etc. Image credit: Alstom Grid.
Thyristor Controller Series Capacitor
Thyristor Controlled Series Capacitor. Image credit: Alstom grid.

Cost of capacitor bank

Cost depends on the MVAR rating and whether it is an indoor or outdoor unit.

  • 34kV 6000KVAR capacitor in a metal-clad switchgear: ~$70,000
  • 12kV 9000KVAR capacitor in a metal-clad switchgear: ~$100,000
  • 138kV 60,000KVAR capacitor in outdoor metal rack: ~$200,000

Lead time to procure capacitor bank

~25 weeks

Information on cost and lead time is for your general knowledge only. Contact vendor with your equipment specifications for actual figures.

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Capacitor Bank: Learn the Purpose, Cost, and Lead Time to Procure 2

Substation Major Equipment

It’s only stupid-simple, let’s begin.

You are building an interconnect station, tying wind farm generation to the power grid. At the substation, the sources are tied through a tie-breaker. Which device would you install to check voltage magnitude and synchronization?
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What’s the purpose of a conventional power transformer?
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Which combination of devices would you use to implement power line carrier?
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An industrial facility is plagued with voltage flicker and poor power factor at the service entrance. What’s the remedy?
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A transformer develops an internal fault. Which device would you install on the transformer high-side to interrupt fault current?
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In a distribution substation, the available ground-fault current on the low side of the step-down transformer is excessive, over-dutying the switching equipment. What is your cost-effective solution to reducing the fault current?
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For which event should a surge arrester operate? Check all that apply.
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The average score is 38%

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