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Old 02-15-2012, 05:51 PM
Anvil3 Anvil3 is offline
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Default Solar Panels and EMP bursts



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I've considered getting solar panels but am not sure if it is a good idea. My understanding is that EMP (Electro-Magnetic Pulse) can knock out solar panels. Does anybody have information on this matter?

I could see where, for whatever reason, we would be exposed to EMP. Rather than going into the causes of the EMP, I can't help but wonder what would happen to solar panels.

Thanks for your help.
Old 02-15-2012, 05:58 PM
Ltvn68 Ltvn68 is offline
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I would not let this threat stop me from being energy independent. I suspect the odds of an EMP knocking out your solar are offset by the provision of power for light, refrigeration and entertainment now and in any other type of crash.
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Old 02-15-2012, 06:05 PM
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Understandable POV. Is there a way to shield the panels against EMP?
Old 02-15-2012, 06:08 PM
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I think that if an EMP takes out your pannels, the stuff that would be useing that power will be toast too. I have the harbor freight kit I keep in a metal truck box. Not a lot of power but enough to run some LED's so I can read at night.
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Old 02-15-2012, 06:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Anvil3 View Post
...Does anybody have information on this matter?
Yes.

Four is not enough.
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Old 02-15-2012, 07:51 PM
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I've often thought about the same thing.If you can afford it....you may consider what charliemeyer007 mentioned.......................Buy your panels,inverter,etc....all the components you'd need to set up and put them in a faraday cage for that "what if" event...........keep instructionals with them and the wherewithall to assemble the set up should that day ever come...........I kinda doubt it will,but ya never know.
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Old 02-15-2012, 09:05 PM
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This falls back on my electricty is the enemy...prep for living without it. Treat it as a novelty. Our 100 year old family ranch didn't get electricty untill the late 1940's. Our ranch ran great for over 50 years before we even got hooked up to anything. Refrigeration was only ice boxes and ice houses, and a root cellar. We did however have lamp oil for seeing at night. We used fireplaces for heat. Horse power literally. For my needs I have something small I can store in a faraday cage for snivvle gear (portable dvd player, small inverter, a couple of solar panels, mp3 player, a couple of 12volt battery's, and a couple of LED lights)

If you have the cabbage to go off grid go for it. I'm a simple man, raised simple ways. We didn't need it before and won't need it then. Its always been a extra, not a need. I'm not worried about EMP or a solar flare. I'm prepped by not needing the juice at all.-WW

ps. I admit I'm very blessed to be living where I do, doing what I do. But with a mind set of trying to get away from power, and focus on non-power, you'll be set either way.
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Old 02-15-2012, 09:14 PM
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I plan to do without a lot of the needs for power.

I am not sure, but I think with solar panels the effects of EMP would more relate to all the wiring and equipment connected to them more than to the panels themselves.

I could be wrong.
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Old 02-15-2012, 10:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Writer's Block View Post
I plan to do without a lot of the needs for power.

I am not sure, but I think with solar panels the effects of EMP would more relate to all the wiring and equipment connected to them more than to the panels themselves.

I could be wrong.
Thats the exact same I was thinking. These are just panels that accept the sun's rays. Not sure where the wires originate in them to run to batteries etc and if they would be harmed, however this type of event is only one of many that could happen so I will still be getting some solar products.
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Old 02-15-2012, 11:17 PM
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I think a pv panel would survive. The risk is to the inverter and charge controller.

There is a lot of bunk out there on EMP. It is not some all power force destroying all electronics. It is just a very fast rising voltage that wants to go to ground. The voltage rises until it shorts, and whatever shorts is toast. Everything else, however, is fine. So your computer, for example, would probably fry it's power supply, but the motherboard and CPU would be fine.

A pv panel is simply a semiconductor with a conductor on both sides. On the other end of the conductors is your charge controller (or micro inverter). A sharply rising voltage is going to short out in the charge controller first, channeling the EMP to ground. Besides, even if the panel shorted first, the semi-conductor is not going to be destroyed, just charred in a little spot where the current flowed from one conductor to another.

If you want good EMP protection, you need a surge protector with avalanche diodes. Polyphaser sells them. In fact they make EMP protection for the military and industry. EMP is what they do. Just don't forget that you need surge protection on both sides of the system. DC surge protection between the panels and charge controller and AC protection between the inverter and your house mains (or AC load). From the controller to the batteries and inverter, you want as short of conductors as possible to minimize any induced voltage.
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Old 02-16-2012, 09:38 AM
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It's funny you asked this. I was just thinking the same thing in the shower a few mins ago(unrelated). I have 29 175 watt Suntech solar panels on the roof of my house. I was gonna ask today.
Old 02-16-2012, 11:30 AM
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Default EMP vs solar panels

The key word here is INDUCTION........As the ElectroMagnetic field moves through our atmosphere, it hits everything in it's path. As it hits electronics it's magnetic field will travel along or through little antennas in your equipment. Anything that conducts current is an antenna. As the magnetic pulse hits these antennas, it hits your equipment and INDUCES the pulse or converts the energy to voltage. The voltage of course is uncontrolled and this is what will burn out equipment.

At face value, when you look at a PhotoVoltaic panel, threre's not much to it. It's nothing but a silicon panel with a few conductive strips to collect current. The strips are very small and I would worry more about the larger cables that connect all of them together. The larger cables are more likely to attract and transmitt the energy (voltage). If this were to occur, the energy would transmitt out both ways, backwards to your panels and forwards to your controller box and the rest of your equipment.

I think it's possible that if there was enough current, those little conductive strips on your panels might see some heat or damage, but there is much higher probability that the current will damage your controller box and other pieces of equipment in your system.

Frankly, if you were worried about the system, one would want some backup panels, and backup controllers etc stored in a Faraday cage. If you knew an EMP was pending and you had only a few minutes, one might disconnect the main cables in the system. Perhaps some type of disconnect on each solar panel. The system is still going to get zapped, and the larger cables in your system are HUGE antennas. Most systems have SURGE protection at critical points in the system, but still think your controllers, inverters etc are still vulnerable.

The problem with all of this is that our government knows much more about this than we do. You and I don't really have a way of testing EMP's. Because of the origins of Solar Flares vs a Nuclear bomb, the average JOE can't really measure the various effects.

We do know from history, that the Solar Flares we saw in the 1800's were strong enough to zap out telegraph systems. If we experienced those same Solar Flares today, our system would no doubt be in jeopardy!!!

cheers,
Liberty

Last edited by choose liberty; 02-16-2012 at 11:35 AM.. Reason: missed a point
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Old 02-16-2012, 12:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gimpy View Post
I think a pv panel would survive. The risk is to the inverter and charge controller.

There is a lot of bunk out there on EMP. It is not some all power force destroying all electronics. It is just a very fast rising voltage that wants to go to ground. The voltage rises until it shorts, and whatever shorts is toast. Everything else, however, is fine. So your computer, for example, would probably fry it's power supply, but the motherboard and CPU would be fine.

A pv panel is simply a semiconductor with a conductor on both sides. On the other end of the conductors is your charge controller (or micro inverter). A sharply rising voltage is going to short out in the charge controller first, channeling the EMP to ground. Besides, even if the panel shorted first, the semi-conductor is not going to be destroyed, just charred in a little spot where the current flowed from one conductor to another.

If you want good EMP protection, you need a surge protector with avalanche diodes. Polyphaser sells them. In fact they make EMP protection for the military and industry. EMP is what they do. Just don't forget that you need surge protection on both sides of the system. DC surge protection between the panels and charge controller and AC protection between the inverter and your house mains (or AC load). From the controller to the batteries and inverter, you want as short of conductors as possible to minimize any induced voltage.
The problem is the induced current inside the devices themselves. And if an EMP induces enough current in the leads to the cells, or in the wires connecting the panels to the charge controller, it'll potentially feed that back to the cells, potentially frying them.

Some may survive, some may not, hard to know without knowing the specifics and location o the EMP pulse.
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Old 02-16-2012, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Ltvn68 View Post
I would not let this threat stop me from being energy independent.
That's my take on it too. I'd get the panels and get independant. But still plan on getting by without power just in case. It's not that hard to do. And if nothing happens to the panels, you have all the conveniences.
Old 02-16-2012, 01:10 PM
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here is an idea most maybe don't know about Sanyo makes solar panels they also have a leasing program that makes larger systems a lot more doable
http://us.sanyo.com/Consumer-Solar
Old 02-16-2012, 03:55 PM
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Anything that runs off the solar panels...fridge, tv;s etc...would be wiped out by the burst too.
Old 02-16-2012, 04:35 PM
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Everyone talks about these bursts.. Remember the burst at our end will last hours, even days. So if you disconnect and store your equipment in your wire cage leave it there for a long while...
Old 02-16-2012, 07:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wetwork View Post
This falls back on my electricty is the enemy...prep for living without it. Treat it as a novelty. Our 100 year old family ranch didn't get electricty untill the late 1940's. Our ranch ran great for over 50 years before we even got hooked up to anything. Refrigeration was only ice boxes and ice houses, and a root cellar. We did however have lamp oil for seeing at night. We used fireplaces for heat. Horse power literally. For my needs I have something small I can store in a faraday cage for snivvle gear (portable dvd player, small inverter, a couple of solar panels, mp3 player, a couple of 12volt battery's, and a couple of LED lights)

If you have the cabbage to go off grid go for it. I'm a simple man, raised simple ways. We didn't need it before and won't need it then. Its always been a extra, not a need. I'm not worried about EMP or a solar flare. I'm prepped by not needing the juice at all.-WW

ps. I admit I'm very blessed to be living where I do, doing what I do. But with a mind set of trying to get away from power, and focus on non-power, you'll be set either way.
I can do without electricity except for one thing: my well pump. I have a deep drilled well. Can a hand pump deliver up water that far?
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Old 02-16-2012, 07:26 PM
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I can do without electricity except for one thing: my well pump. I have a deep drilled well. Can a hand pump deliver up water that far?
Depends on how deep the well is...the deeper the well the more giant your hand pump could be...Really deep and I'm talking a two person teeter-tawter hand pump. I've also seen a simple one gallon tube that basically you drop down the well-head with a long string and pull up when its full. It must be heavier than water it sinks, water flows around the sides and into the tube. Pretty much a long skinny bucket on a rope. Another thought from day's of the Old West, a windmill pump. You see the old rigs all over Eastern Oregon. Another option is a cystern filled by your pump. So when the power goes out you'd still have gallons of water close at hand. Bare in mind, I'm talking country living, you might have to be more elaborate to put something together in a urban setting. I haven't found any reliable, economical, solar set-up to pull water up from over 300ft deep. You'd need a huge bank of batteries, a gob of panels. Try to find out what the wattage your pump draws. Mine's a 220volt pump, as my well is also pretty deep so solar would be expensive and not worth it for me. I have several springs close enough, I'd just haul water and a fantastic fresh water creek that goes right through my backyard., I can fish for trout right from my bedroom window.-WW
Old 02-17-2012, 06:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kimosaubi View Post
Everyone talks about these bursts.. Remember the burst at our end will last hours, even days. So if you disconnect and store your equipment in your wire cage leave it there for a long while...
If you're talking about a large solar event, such as the 1859 Carrington event, yes; but that's from a Coronal Mass Ejection, not a nuclear weapon detonated high above the earth.

I've never read nor heard of the effects of a EMP lasting hours or days.
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