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Outside of the generator industry, there is a lot of confusion, when it comes to the term Kilo-volt-amperes (kVA). We all know about Kilowatt (kW): it’s the term that we can hear everyday. We can see it at home for the rating of all the electronic equipments in our home and specially on our electric bill. The term Kilo-volt-amperes (kVA) comes upfront when in comes to generator industry.
The main question is what is the difference between Kw and kVA? Is it also possible to convert between the KW and kVA.

Apparent power – kVA is:

The measure Kva is apparent power: it tells the total amount of power that is used in a system. kW = kVA in a 100% efficient system. But as we know, electrical systems are never 100% efficient and not all of the systems apparent power is being used for useful work output.

Actual (Real) power - kW is:

kW is the amount of power that is converted into a useful output. kW is known as actual power or also as working / real power.

Power Factor: a measure of electrical efficiency;

Yes, you can convert between kVA and kW, but you have to know the efficiency of the electrical system. Electrical efficiency is expressed as a power factor between 0 and 1: the closer the power factor is to 1, the more efficiently the kVA is being converted into useful kW. Generators have a power factor of 0.8.

The formula:

- for converting kVA into kW:

Apparent power (kVA) x power factor (pf) = actual (Real) power (kW)

Example: 100 kVA x 0.8 = 80 kW

- For converting kW into kVA:

Actual (Real) power (kW) / power factor (pf) = apparent power (kVA)

Example: 100 kW / 0.8 = 125 kVA

Power triangle: