capacity factor, definition of
- Capacity Factor
Capacity factor is a ratio (usually expressed as a percentage) of power actually generated by an installed wind turbine compared to its theoretical maximum power output.News & Blog articles where 'capacity factor' used:
This is important as the available wind varies considerably by location and you want to pick a location that ensures maximum utilization. Although typically the maximum capacity factor achieved in practice is around 30%. This can be compared to the typical capacity factors of 15% for solar and nuclear which ranges in 60 to 100%. Base load thermal power plants (i.e. fire fired) often achieve 70 to 90%.
When capacity factor is combined with cost of production you get the effective cost of power production for a given energy producing technology; i.e. cost divided by capacity factor. This figure you can use as a basis for a ROI (Return on Investment) comparison.
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