All new housing developments should be fitted with three-phase electricity supply to update them from the single phase norm that has been in place since before World War II, according to a new report out today.

Image of woman holding electricity cable above head

The Renewable Energy Association (REA), joined by the UK’s largest distribution network operator (DNO) Western Power Distribution (WPD), has made the case that upgrading the electricity supply to homes would pave the way for greater adoption of solar, renewable heat and electric vehicle charging.

The current model in the UK is for housebuilders and network operators to connect each house to one of the three phases running down mains cabling. This allows for less power use in a typical home and limits how its load can be distributed.

The paper, “The feasibility, costs and benefits of three phase power supplies in new homes”, argues that this has been the norm since the post-war period and should now be updated to reflect the growing need for greater facilitation of distributed energy resources in UK homes.

Nina Skorupska CBE, chief executive of the REA, said: “The built environment is a major source of carbon emissions. If we are serious about delivering on our ambitions to reduce energy bills, meet our carbon targets, and deliver on our Industrial Strategy aims, we should ensure that they have adequate electrical connections.

“Three phase power supplies in new homes can facilitate a more rapid deployment of renewable heat systems, greater uptake in rooftop solar PV, and greater choice in charging your electric vehicle.”

WPD is currently trialling the use of three-phase connections at the Parc Eirin Energy Positive Homes development in Wales in order to determine the costs and benefits of doing so.

Both solar thermal and building integrated PV are used alongside battery and thermal storage, smart heating controls and appliances, and electric vehicle charging to ensure that the energy generated by each home is flexible and available for use.

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