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What is Apparent Power?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 18 October 2014
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Apparent power is the combined power value that is obtained by allowing for the different values of current and voltage. Essentially, this measurement is found by multiplying the applied voltage to the current generated. Most electrical systems operate by the use of apparent power.

There is some basic information required to understand the the nature of this type of power. Components of both reactive and real power must be present in order for apparent power to exist. That is, the load must be both reactive and resistant in order for the flow of this power to take place, and therefore create a means for measuring the nature of the generated power. In addition to the presence of these two loads, it is also important to determine the watts involved in the current as well.

In the actual calculation of apparent power, the number of volts is multiplied by the number of amps. The results of the calculation are presented in terms of volt-amperes reactive and real power. This simple multiplication makes it possible to ensure that the flow of power is sufficient to operate devices designed for a given level of power, as well as ensure that this flow can be handled by the components within the device. Within this context, the measurement is very important to manufacturers, as it allows them to ensure that all of their products are within the standards applicable within the jurisdiction.

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Measuring the flow of apparent power is also critical for wiring public buildings and residences properly. Plants must ensure that all electrical wiring and additional components will adequately support the power supply needed to drive large machinery without overloading the circuits or wiring systems. Power suppliers themselves will measure the apparent power to make sure that the flow of harnessed energy into homes and other buildings is maintained within the safety standards that apply to the area and type of structure.

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Sushil Adhikari
Post 2

when the MVAR of an AC generator is negative, what does this signify? or in simple terms what does negative reactive power mean?

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