What is kVA

What is kVA?

Although we have a world-class sales team here at Constant Power Solutions, we have a reoccurring issue when newbies are searching for the right kVA when it comes to purchasing a generator. It’s often they aren’t sure what kVA is or what the right kVA is needed for their generator, so here’s a little bit about it for those of you who are a bit confused.

kVA stands for Kilo-Volt-Ampere, and one kVA is equal to 1,000 watts of power. We use it to measure what is known as ‘apparent power’. Apparent power basically just tells us the total amount of power being used by a system.

This is where most people get confused with kVA and kW, as kW tells you what is called ‘Actual Power’. Actual Power is what we use to identify how much power is being converted into a useful output, which is essential as it tells us how much the system is actually doing its job!

So, if an electrical system was 100% efficient, then the kW would be the exact equivalent to kVA. But no electrical system is 100% efficient, which is why we need to know the kVA so that we are aware of how much power is actually efficient and useful.

There is then the power factor, and diesel generators have a power factor of 0.8. Once you know this, you can convert kVA to kW as this tells you the efficiency level of the electrical system.

To convert kW to kVA, you will need this formula:

Actual Power (kW) / Power Factor (pf) = Apparent Power (kVA)

A few factors go into deciding what kVA your generator will need, one of the main ones being the size of the building that you’re generating energy for – a hospital is going to need a larger input of power than a 2-bedroom house would.

Knowing this is key for both business and residential needs, as you are made aware of how much money you are spending compared to what output you are actually gaining out of the system. If you’re looking to find out some more specifics and go into detail about how much kVA you will need for your generator, our expert sales team are on hand to give you the best advice. Give us a call on 01757 428140.

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