What’s the difference between 3 phase and single phase inverters?

If you’ve been looking into installing solar you may have heard the terms 3 phase and single phase in reference to inverters. But what does it mean to have a 3 phase or single phase inverter and what difference are there between the two?

To answer this question we first have to clarify between what 3 phase and single phase means.

The way we transfer power is by using AC (alternating current) which in Australia is operated at 50 Hz. Below is what a single phase current waveform looks like.

single phase current waveform

However, we don’t use a single phase to transfer power, we use three phases. This is why you’ll see transmission lines with multiples of 3 lots of lines on them e.g. 3 or 6.

What 3 phase means is that we have to send power across the network using 3 different currents all out of “phase” with each other.

three phase wave form

A single phase inverter can connect to and export power through a single phase. Even if you have a 3 phase connection to your house the inverter will only connect to one of those phases.

A three phase inverter however, connects to all three phases and exports across them evenly. Logically to install a three phase inverter you must have a three phase connection to the network. Generally most residential connections are single phase and so single phase inverters are the most common of the two types.

Where in your solar journey are you?

Download Your FREE Beginner’s Guide To Solar Power!

Beginners Guide to Solar Power

If you’re considering solar for your property or just looking to maximise the savings for your solar system, download a FREE copy of our "Beginner’s Guide To Solar Power".

Become an expert and better understand the ins and outs of solar power and solar PV systems for your property.

Includes detailed explanations and diagrams of the various types of solar systems and their parts, solar battery storage systems, Government incentives, expected ROI periods, finance, energy saving tips and more!

Download Your Free Copy Now!

Customer Testimonials

Read More ❯

Latest news & blog

X

Please provide your email address so that we can send your free copy of "Beginner’s Guide To Solar Power".

Yes please, I would like to receive updates from Solar Market. Click to view our Privacy Policy.

Thank you

We have emailed your copy of "Beginner’s Guide To Solar Power".

If your guide does not appear in your inbox ensure that you have provided the correct email address or check your junk/spam folder.

This message will close in 10 seconds or

Close and back to page
X

Understanding Batteries

Off-Grid Systems

For some households a battery system can be of great benefit and minimise a home’s reliance on the grid. However, it’s important to understand for a battery to be useful your solar system needs to be generating excess energy for the battery to store, which you can then use at night or when the sun is not out.

When selecting a battery, you’ll want to invest in a system that is most suited to your home and can drive the best return on investment (ROI). Despite a larger upfront cost, a higher quality battery may significantly increase your ROI.

    Battery systems start from $6,000 and costs can vary greatly based on the following factors:

  1. Cycle Life-Time

    The number of times a battery can fully charge and discharge.

  2. Battery Power (kW)

    How fast it can be charged or discharged.

  3. Storage Capacity (kWh)

    The maximum amount of energy a battery system can store.

  4. Battery Management System (BMS)

    An electronic ‘smart’ system that gathers data and manages the battery ensuring it does not overload or operate outside of its safe functioning zone..

  5. Inverter

    Battery systems require their own inverter if your solar system does not have a hybrid inverter.

  6. 'All-In-One Unit’

    A system which includes the battery, BMS and an inverter all in one unit.

  7. Warranty

    Length of time or cycles the battery system is under guarantee.

  8. Blackout Protection/Backup

    It’s important to note this is not a common feature of a battery system and could cost thousands of dollars to include. Blackout protection not only requires additional components but also a specialised installation and rewiring. For grid-connected homes, the cost for blackout protection can outweigh the benefit.

Additionally, if your purpose for adding battery is to go Off-Grid and become completely independent from the grid you will need to ensure your solar system can generate enough energy to power your home and your battery system is large enough to store this energy. For homes in metro areas going Off-grid is not cost effective and is only recommended for those in remote areas with limited access to the grid. Off-grid solar systems with battery start at approximately $30,000.