There are many different types of inverters out there. There are grid-tied, hybrid, and off-grid inverters. There are inverters of many different sizes and brands, with varying features. And there are single-phase and three-phase inverters. If you’re installing solar, how do you know if you need a single-phase or three-phase inverter? Keep reading to find out.
Is This a Residential or Commercial Application?
If you’re installing solar for your own home (which is the most common application for new solar projects), then odds are high that you’ll need a single-phase inverter. Most homes use a single-phase power supply, and you’ll need an inverter that is compatible with your home’s existing electrical equipment and wiring. However, if you’re installing solar for a business—especially a large business that requires a great deal of power—then you may need a three-phase solar inverter.
It’s extremely important that you’re not just guessing about what kind of power supply you have. You should check your property’s wiring and, if you’re still not sure, contact an electrician or solar power expert to help you determine the best type of inverter for your system.
How to Tell If You Have Single-Phase or Three-Phase Power
So, how do you actually check to determine whether you have single-phase or three-phase power? There are a few places you can check:
- Your utility bill – Check your most recent power bill to see if it states whether you have single- or three-phase power. This won’t be on all utility bills, but some power companies will include this information.
- Your electrical meter – Sometimes, the face of your power meter will include information like wattage and ID number. There may also be a description of the type of power you have. “Single Phase,” “Mono-Phase” and “1-Phase” all mean single-phase power. “Tri-Phase,” “3-Phase,” and “Polyphase” all mean you have a three-phase power supply.
- Your switchboard – You can also look at the main switchboard in your fusebox. Check the number of poles that the main switch controls. Single-phase power boxes will have one pole, while buildings with three-phase power will have three poles.
If you can’t determine your power supply from any of these sources, ask a professional for assistance.
Is There Really Any Difference?
In terms of performance and functionality, there is really no difference between a SolarEdge single-phase inverter and three-phase power converter. They will still connect with your solar array and convert the DC power to AC electricity; they’ll just produce either single-phase or three-phase power, depending on what your building needs. The most important thing is simply to ensure that you’re choosing the type of inverter that’s compatible with your property’s wiring and will meet your power needs.