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Single phase vs three-phase power: what are they and what’s the difference?

Posted in Energy essentials

Solar households in Australia

If your home is connected to the electricity grid in Australia (and most homes are, particularly in built up areas), you’ll likely either be on single phase or three-phase power. But many homeowners around the country don’t really know what these are, let alone which one they’re on. It’s often not until they look into getting solar that they learn more about it. 

So what is single and three-phase power? And which does your home run on?


Single phase

Single phase power is the most common set up for new residential properties and small businesses. 

Homes on single phase power usually have two electricity wires running overhead or underground from the power lines to the house. This includes one “active” wire through which electricity runs (both from the grid into your home and, if you have solar panels, from your system into the grid.) The other wire is the “neutral” wire. 



In contrast, properties on three-phase power have three active wires (and one neutral.) 

This is more commonly found in homes with higher energy needs – perhaps your home is particularly large, you have energy-hungry elements like a pool pump, or you have a farm property. These properties, as well as many businesses, are usually on three-phase power.

So in the case of three-phase, electricity flows in and out of your home through three electricity wires, rather than just the one.

Two-phase power also exists but is less common than single and three-phase power. 


How do I tell if I’m on single phase or three-phase power?

Perhaps the simplest way to tell if you’re on single phase or three-phase power is to check your switchboard. Look at the ‘main switch’ or ‘normal supply main switch’ on your switchboard.

If the switch looks like three switches combined into one and is wider than 3 cm, you have 3-phase power. 

If it’s a single switch and slim, you have single-phase power. 


Solar and battery options for single and three-phase power

Whether you’re on single phase or three-phase power, solar is an option for you. 

At DC Power Co, we’ve designed a solar and battery package that brings world-leading, tier 1 solar panels together with an Australian-designed battery solution in one streamlined, cost-effective package for single phase and three-phase homes.

The solar and battery offering comes in a range of sizes depending on your energy needs, household set-up and budget. Plus there are financing options available so you can start saving with your solar and battery system now, and pay it off over time. 

If you’re on single phase power, you can get started with a free online pricing estimate here

If you’re on three-phase power, you’ll need a slightly more bespoke solar solution. Find out more about solar for three-phase and get a quote here

View the solar and battery package


Already have solar panels and just want to add a battery?

If you already have solar, but want to add a battery, check out our solar battery package which is also suitable for both single phase and three-phase homes.

This is our powerful yet simple and affordable battery package that’s compatible with any existing solar system. Starting at just $6750 plus installation, it’s a modular battery package that comes with extended warranties and blackout protection included at no extra cost. 

If you have three-phase power, simply add a three-phase electricity meter to your package for an extra $100. 

View the battery package

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