Most Australian homes have a single-phase power supply, which basically means they have one live wire coming in from the grid. Some houses, however, have a three-phase supply, with three live wires pulling power from the grid.
A three-phase home can pull more power in from the grid, which is useful if the house needs to power bigger loads such as large air conditioners, pool heaters, or electric car chargers.
Do you have a three-phase power supply?
To check if you have a three-phase supply, all you need to do is look in your switchboard. If you have a single-phase supply, you will have only one ‘pole’ on your main switch or meter isolator. If you have a three-phase supply, you will see three ‘poles’.
What is a three-phase solar inverter?
A three-phase solar inverter takes in DC electricity from solar panels, converts it and sends AC power through the home evenly across three phases. These inverters generally look the same as a single-phase inverter, although they can cost quite a bit more.
Three-phase solar inverters work best with larger solar inverter systems, as it avoids having too much load being sent out on one single phase, which could cause an imbalance between the loading of all phases. However, this is usually a consideration for 6kW or larger systems, and not so much for 5kW capacity or less inverters, as 5kW of power going through one phase will generally not pose any problems.
Do you need a three-phase inverter?
There are several benefits of using three-phase inverters. Firstly, as mentioned above, these inverters will help to avoid imbalances in the power loading. Secondly, when the inverter capacity is spread across three wires, it would be easier to push the solar energy back out to the grid. Using a three-phase solar inverter in a three-phase supply home can also significantly reduce the occurrence of over-voltage issues.
Having said that, in most cases, a single-phase inverter is sufficient for systems that are smaller than 5kW. For these small systems, a three-phase inverter may not necessarily add extra value. The exception to this is if you are located in a rural location that is far away from the power lines on the street. In this case, a three-phase inverter can be used to raise its preset voltage limits, to push out its generated power back to the grid.
The best way to find out if you do need a three-phase inverter or not is to speak with solar power experts. At Total Solar Solutions, we can do a site inspection to check if your home and power usage will require a single-phase or three-phase solar inverter.
To find the right system to meet your requirements, please contact our team today.