Not many people are aware of a 3-phase solar inverter, but it is a commonly available solar inverter type in the Australian solar market. 3-phase solar inverters are made for the household that is connected to the mains grid with a 3-phase electricity supply.
Compare Solar Quotes works with various solar product manufacturers in the Australian solar market to give Australian homes proper solar power system advice and solutions. In this article, we will talk about 3-phase solar inverters and whether you need them or not.
What is a 3-Phase Solar Inverter?
The function of a solar inverter is to convert the direct current generated by the solar panels into alternating current, making it usable for household appliances. A 3-phase solar inverter comes with a few extra functions than a single-phase solar inverter. It divides the alternating current into three parts for a three phase electrical supply.
What is a 3-Phase Electrical Supply?
The majority of the homes in Australia come with a single phase electrical supply. A single phase electrical supply means that there is only one live wire coming in from the mains grid. A home with a three phase electrical supply means that there are three live wires coming from the grid.
Households that come with a 3-phase supply extract more power from the mains grid. These are also usually less affected by grid blackouts compared to the single phase electrical supply.
How to know whether You have a 3-Phase Supply?
There are a few ways of knowing whether you have a 3-phase electrical supply or not. These are:
In many countries, the switchboard is considered to be the main electrical fuse as all the fuses are organised with the main power supply lines. Take a look at the switchboard and see whether there is a row of switches or panels. These switches are often referred to as poles, and if you see a single pole in the switchboard, then it means that your house has a single phase supply.
An easy way of indicating a 3-phase electric supply is the number of cables connected to the house. Take a look near the roof of the building, and if there are four cables at the point of attachment, then you have a 3-phase supply. The four cables represent a 3-phase electricity supply and a neutral cable. If there are two cables at the point of attachment, then there is a single phase supply and a neutral cable.
There are quite a few types of three phase meters. Some of these meters are digital, while the others are non-digital. For non-digital meters, count the number of poles or switches on the meter isolator. It is a single phase electrical supply if there is only one pole. For digital meters, take a look at the display for the L readings. If there is only L1 on display, then you have a single phase supply.
What are the solar power options with a 3-phase electricity supply?
If your home has a 3-phase electricity supply, then your solar power system options are:
Single phase solar inverter
Three phase solar inverter
All of the inverter options are valid when you have a 3-phase electricity supply, but the three phase solar inverters have a few extra benefits.
What are the benefits of installing a 3-phase solar inverter?
The primary benefit of a 3-phase solar inverter is that it can feed electricity evenly into all the three electrical phases of your house. The additional benefits of a 3-phase solar inverter are:
- It minimises voltage issues in the mains electricity grid.
- It minimises inverter tripping due to voltage issues.
- It causes minimum loss to the inverter during blackouts.
- It enables the chance of installing a larger solar power system.
Does a 3-Phase Electrical Supply require a 3-Phase Solar Inverter?
It is not essential to install a 3-phase solar inverter for a 3-phase electrical supply. As we mentioned above, all sorts of solar inverter options are valid if you have a 3-phase electrical supply. A 3-phase solar inverter usually costs about $300 to $500 more than a single phase solar inverter.
If you install a single phase solar inverter, then it can only be connected to one phase of power. The appliances in a 3-phase supply home are typically split into three phases of power. This means that a single phase solar inverter can only tackle one third electricity usage of the home. However, the latest solar power systems come with a smart bi-directional meter. The work of a bi-directional meter is to offset any amount of excess energy that is consumed across the other electricity phases before importing electricity from the mains grid.
What is the best 3-Phase Solar Inverter?
There are several solar inverter brands and manufacturers available in the Australian solar market. Solar inverters are typically compared by considering the maximum efficiency, warranties, key features, brand reputations, and quality. Before purchasing a 3-phase solar inverter, make sure to check whether the manufacturer or the solar inverter is Clean Energy Council (CEC) approved.
The top 3-phase solar inverter manufacturers available in the Australian solar market are:
- Fronius – Eco and Symo
- SMA – Sunny Tripower range
- SolarEdge – SE 3-phase
- Sungrow – SG & CX range
- Huawei – SUN2000-KTL range
How to Get a three phase Electrical Supply in a home?
It is possible to get a three phase electrical supply in a home, but it costs a lot of money. But if you are building a new home, then installing a three phase electrical supply does not cost much. If a three phase electrical supply is installed correctly, then it allows the homeowners to install a larger size solar power system.
3-phase solar inverters provide additional benefits to the home, especially if you have a larger size solar power system. Now that we have let you know everything you need to know about a 3-phase solar inverter, you can now easily decide whether you want to install one or not. Consult with your solar installer before deciding to install a 3-phase solar inverter.