What is Split Phase - Nature's Generator

What is Split Phase

One frequent question we receive is about split-phase power. To explain briefly, a split-phase electrical system is a type of electrical power distribution commonly used in North American homes.

Over the years, solar power solutions have become affordable, making solar energy available to many more homes. And we have seen a rising interest in homeowners looking to have solar power systems in their residences. If you’re in the market looking to install solar panels or set-up a solar generator, it’s best to do a little investigative work so that your investment will align with your needs.

One frequent question we receive at Nature’s Generator is about split-phase power. To explain briefly, a split-phase electrical system is a type of electrical power distribution commonly used in North American homes. We’ll further dive into this in this article, covering its characteristics, applications, and how split-phase is different from single-phase and three-phase. We’ll also cover its significance in solar systems.

Split Phase

What is Split-Phase?

As mentioned earlier, a split-phase is a type of electrical power distribution that is usually employed in houses in North America. Split-phase, also called two-phase power, is basically a single-phase power system that is split into two separate phases–thus the name.  It allows for the provision of both 120V and 240V power, accommodating various household appliances and devices. Split-phase power is achieved through the use of a transformer that has a center tap (becomes the neutral conductor) on its secondary wiring, resulting in two 120V circuits that are 180 degrees out of phase with each other. This type of configuration allows the efficient delivery of power to a number of electric devices and appliances.

(Related article: Difference Between Natural and Ground)

What are the key characteristics of Split-Phase?

A standard split-phase system is represented as a three-wire system that is made up of two hot wires and a neutral wire. The two hot wires (typically carrying 120V AC) are 180 degrees out of phase. This means that when one of the hot wires reaches its peak positive voltage, the other hot wire is at its peak negative voltage. The voltage combination of these two hot wires creates an effective voltage (240V) that is twice that of a single-phase system, meaning a split-phase system provides a more robust and versatile power supply.

What are the applications of Split-Phase?

Residential power distribution is one of the primary applications of a split-phase system. This type of electrical power makes an efficient supply of electricity that delivers power to various appliances and devices that have different voltage requirements. In the US, most outlets and home appliances are designed to operate on 120V split-phase power. 

The spilt-phase configuration provides compatibility with a broader range of appliances, supporting electric devices that run on 120V and 240V. Common household devices, such as lights, televisions and other small kitchen appliances, run on 120V, while larger, power-hungry appliances like stoves, dryers, and air conditioners require a 240V configuration.

What is the difference between Split-Phase from other types of power distributions?
Split-Phase vs. Single-Phase

Unlike the split-phase, which has two hot wires, the single-phase has only one hot wire and a neutral wire. The voltage between these two wires in single-phase is 120V, which means it can only be utilized in settings where the power demand is low. Although a single-phase system can power some small appliances and electronics, it cannot provide the versatility needed for larger appliances or machinery that require a higher voltage.

Split-Phase vs Three-Phase

The three-phase power is commonly found in larger commercial settings. While the split-phase uses two hot hires, the three-phase involves three hot wires, each with a phase difference of 120 degrees. This power distribution set-up is geared towards handling larger electrical loads in industrial and commercial environments.

What is the relevance of Split-Phase in Solar Systems?

Now that we’ve covered the basics of split-phase, let’s explore its significance in the context of solar power systems.

In a solar energy system, photovoltaic or PV panels generate direct electricity (DC) from sunlight. However, most household appliances, and even the electric grid, operate on alternating current or (AC); this is where inverters come into play. Solar inverters convert the DC electricity produced by the panels into usable AC power. 

Solar inverters come in different configurations, but the single-phase and split-phase are the most common ones. A single-phase solar inverter produces a single output voltage that’s either 120V or 240V. A split-phase inverter, on the other hand, can generate both 120V and 240V outputs, which matches the requirements of various appliances and enhances the overall efficiency of the solar power system. In addition, a split-phase configuration allows for easier scalability of solar systems. Additional panels can be added to the system to meet the increasing demands of the household without requiring a complete overhaul of the existing solar energy setup.

Nature's Generator Powerhouse

Split-phase Solar Generator

 If you’re looking for a generator that will singlehandedly address all your household’s power requirements, we recommend you check Nature’s Generator Powerhouse. This solar generator is equipped with a split-phase 240V/7200W or single-phase 120V/7200W (combined) pure Sine Wave Inverter. Now, you can use your solar generator to power not only small appliances but also larger appliances like air conditioners, heaters, and water pumps.

As your power needs grow, the Powerhouse, much like our other solar generators, can be expanded. With the Powerhouse, you can add more solar panels, wind turbines, power pods (solar batteries), transfer switches, a security camera system, and more. Basically, you can customize your solar power system to make fit for your current needs!

A quick reminder – while setting up a split-phase solar system is possible for DIY enthusiasts, seeking professional assistance is advised, especially when dealing with electrical components and connections. This ensures that the system is installed correctly, which minimizes the risk of electrical issues and optimizes the overall performance of your solar power system.  

Also, before you embark on a solar system installation, we recommend that you check the local regulations and building codes in your area. Make sure to obtain any necessary permits and approvals to ensure the safety and legality of your solar set-up.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our customer service team, and we will be more than happy to attend to your inquiries. You can also browse through our FAQ and Help Center page to learn more about our products or to get answers to your concerns.


* We want to give credit where credit is due. Professional writer, Ishna Sablaya, contributed research and content to this blog titled: What is Split Phase Thank you, Ishna, for your contributions!