In the past few years, solar panels have seen a sharp increase in popularity. Nowadays, they are everywhere starting from our homes, cars to airplanes. You might’ve heard that any type of electrical device emits electromagnetic radiation. If you are concerned with its negative effects on the human body, you might ask “Do solar panels give off EMF?”
Yes, solar panels do emit radiation or EMF. Although the panels themselves do not emit electromagnetic radiation, the other components of a solar panel system like the inverter unit and smart meters radiate EMF radiation.
Now, just knowing this is not going to solve the problem. That’s why, in this article, I’m going to give you a brief overview of a solar panel system, the sources of EMF radiation in that system, and different strategies to combat this radiation problem. If you are looking for a guide to deal with your solar panel radiation issue, this article should suffice!
Overview of a Solar Panel System
Before learning about the EMF radiation emission from a solar panel system, you need to understand how the system works. Any solar panel system can be divided into three distinct components – the solar panels themselves, the inverter, and the wirings.
The first component i.e., solar panels are made of photovoltaic cells. The term photovoltaic means that these cells can use sunlight to make electricity. A number of tiny photovoltaic cells together form a solar panel.
A PV (photovoltaic) cell is like a sandwich of two pieces of semiconducting materials, most often silicone. When sun rays hit a solar PV cell, the energy from the light is absorbed by the cell in the form of photons. This absorbed energy knocks several electrons out of the atoms of the semiconductor material which then roam freely in the PV cell.
As mentioned before, the cells are made of two slices of semiconducting material, one side is positively charged and the other is negatively charged. This forces the free electrons in the PV cells to flow in a certain direction.
If we connect the positive and negative sides of the PV cell with a wire, it forms an electric circuit. By doing so, we can capture the electron flow as energy current, i.e. electricity. In a solar panel system, the produced electricity by the PV cells can’t be directly used in modern electrical devices.
That’s where the solar inverter comes in. The electrical energy produced in the solar panel travels through the wirings to the inverter unit. It converts the unusable electrical energy produced by the PV cells to 120 volts AC which can be used to power electronic devices in typical households like television, fan, air conditioner, etc.
Now when you think of possible sources of radiation in a solar panel system, you can rule out the panels themselves as the possible culprit. They produce a small amount of low voltage DC electricity which hardly produces any sort of electromagnetic radiation. Plus, the panels have to be set up in some place with an unhindered supply of sunlight.
So, the panels are less likely to be anywhere near your body, thus you will be completely safe from the electromagnetic radiation emitted by the solar panels.
Now that you know that the solar panels are not the culprit behind the electromagnetic radiation in a solar panel system that leaves the inverter unit and the wirings as the possible suspect. Let’s take a look at the inverter unit first.
They are either installed near the electrical panel in your house. Or, they are micro-inverter units installed near or underneath the solar panels. These micro-inverter units feed their output to a large solar inverter that is installed somewhere inside your house. Inverters convert low voltage DC to high voltage AC. This conversion can produce some dirty electricity, thus EMF.
The wiring system is composed of normal copper wires and covered with insulating materials. So, it will neither emit any EMF radiation nor produce dirty electricity.
In a solar panel system, the source of electromagnetic radiation depends on how you plan to use solar-generated electric energy.
You can use the energy in one of two ways. The first one is you can use it to power your house. And the other option is you can sell some or all the solar-generated electricity back to a power distribution company.
In the case of the second option, and sometimes for the first one, a “Smart Meter” is installed. This smart meter will tell you how much electricity is being generated, how efficient your solar panels are, how much energy is being used, etc. These meters transmit data wirelessly. And when the transmission happens, large amounts of radio frequency (RF) radiation are emitted.
The bottom line is, in a solar panel system, the panels or the wiring system are not responsible for emitting EMF. Rather, the source of radiation is the inverter unit and smart meter that is installed in your house.
Solar Panel Radiation - Things You Need to Know
Now that you have a good understanding of how a solar panel system works and the sources of radiation in this system, let’s take a look at the types of radiation that it emits.
In a solar panel system, you will be exposed to mainly two types of radiation:
- Radiofrequency (RF) radiation
- Dirty Electricity or Dirty Power
Radio Frequency (RF) Radiation
RF or radiofrequency radiation is emitted from almost any type of wireless device. For example, Wi-Fi routers, mobile phones, mobile network towers, etc. These devices use radio waves to send packets of data between two devices. But at the same time, they also emit a type of non-ionizing radiation.
In the case of a solar panel system, the smart meter is the source of this type of radiation. These meters are used to keep track of the generated electricity, power usage, efficiency of the panels, and many other system parameters. And they can transmit data wirelessly.
Smart meters provide great convenience not only to the consumers but also to the utility company as they don’t have to hire additional manpower to read meters. But like any other communication device, they also emit a huge amount of radiofrequency (RF) radiation while transmitting data.
And there is a very high chance that you will be exposed to this radiation as these meters are usually installed someplace inside your house, typically near the electrical panel.
But not every household with a solar panel system has one of these meters. And not every type of solar power user even needs them. The only instance you will need smart meters is when you sell a small or the entire amount of solar-generated electricity to a power distribution company or if the regulations in your locality require you to have one.
I won’t go into too much detail about “Dirty Electricity”. But I will give you an overview of it. If you want to learn about it in-depth, you can check out this article.
The AC electricity that runs through the household electrical wiring has a standard frequency of 60 Hz, 50 Hz if you live in Europe. Any fluctuation in the electrical energy from the standard value is referred to as dirty electricity or dirty power.
As modern electronics technology is advancing, the main focus right now is to make devices as efficient as possible. While it can save energy costs, it is also the main reason for producing dirty electricity. Most of the devices nowadays can’t directly use the AC electricity from the power line.
Instead, these devices convert the standard AC into a form that is suitable for these devices like converting the 50/60 Hz AC to high voltage AC or low voltage DC.
As a result of such conversions, dirty electricity is generated in the household power lines that can be spread in other places through the electrical wirings. In the case of a solar panel system, the inverter unit is the culprit behind producing dirty electricity.
These inverter units convert low voltage DC electricity to 120 volts 60 Hz AC electricity. As a result of such conversion, some dirty electricity is introduced into your house’s power line. And this results in EMF from solar inverters. Some inverters are good at reducing the generation of dirty electricity but that doesn’t mean that the problem is entirely solved.
Should You Be Concerned About Solar Panel EMF Radiation?
Yes, you should be. Electromagnetic radiation has been a burning topic amongst researchers for many decades. Lots of studies have been published about EMF and its effect on the human body.
While none of the studies have found any concrete proof that electromagnetic radiation is harmful to the human body, these studies strongly suggest that it can be the cause of many health problems. More studies are required in this field to fill the gaps in knowledge.
One study performed on the teachers of La Quinta, California middle school has found that those who were exposed to electromagnetic radiation for a long time were at higher risk of cancer. Several studies similar to it suggested the same outcome that exposure to electromagnetic radiation is associated with higher cancer risks.
Even WHO (World Health Organization) has declared RF, microwave, extremely low-frequency radiations as possible carcinogens of cancer. And till now, researchers have found a correlation between exposure to EMFs and a wide range of health problems such as headache, asthma, autism, diabetes, infertility, and much more.
So, whether it is electromagnetic radiation from your mobile phones or your solar panel system, exposure to EMF is never good for the human body.
What to Do About Solar Panel Radiation?
There are some measures that you can take to reduce exposure to solar panel radiation. They are given below:
Measure the EMF Level
To deal with this solar panel radiation issue, first, you will need to find out the level of electromagnetic radiation that you are exposed to in your home. The best way to do that is by using an EMF meter.
If you are really concerned with electromagnetic radiation, whether it is from Wi-Fi routers or solar panels, you should buy an EMF meter. It will help you to identify the source of radiation and help you to take preventive measures accordingly.
Want to know which EMF meter to buy? Check out this Best EMF Meters and Detectors
Opt-Out of Smart Meters
One of the main sources of electromagnetic radiation in a solar panel system is the smart meter. It emits a huge amount of radiofrequency radiation which is deemed harmful to the human body.
The best way to reduce such radiation from a solar panel system is by opting out of the smart meter entirely. Some utility companies do offer this service. But in this case, you might have to pay some additional fees.
But opting out of smart meters might not be a viable choice for everyone because some local regulations insist on having one installed in your home. If you can’t opt out, don’t worry there are some strategies that you can use to reduce your exposure to EMF produced by the solar panel system in your home. These are discussed below in this article.
Make a Smart Meter Shield
This a strategy for those who can’t opt out of smart meters. You can use EMF shielding fabrics to make a faraday cage for your meter. It will block almost the entire amount of radiofrequency radiation emitted by the meter. And they are very easy to make and install. Not to mention these fabrics are fairly inexpensive.
Check out this Smart Meter EMF Protectionto learn more about smart meter protection and the best EMF shielding fabrics.
Use EMF Protection Paint
One of the best ways to block EMF radiation is by painting the house using EMF protection paints. There are lots of excellent quality EMF blocker paints out there that have very high electromagnetic radiation blocking capabilities. Just make sure to apply and ground the paint properly.
Want to learn about the best EMF blocking paints in the market, check out this Best EMF Blocking Paints
Use Dirty Electricity Meter and Dirty Electricity Filter
This is a good way to reduce the production of dirty electricity. EMF meters give you a good indication of how much radiation level you are exposed to. But it doesn’t give you any indication of how much dirty electricity is present in your home’s power lines. For that, you will need to purchase a dirty electricity meter.
If you are looking for a dirty electricity meter, check out the Power Line EMI Dirty Electricity Meter. The meter has good sensitivity and is made of premium quality components.
As for reducing dirty electricity, you can buy dirty electricity filters. They are extremely easy to use. Just plug it in the main power outlet and leave it for a day and you will notice a significant improvement.
They do a good job reducing the overall amount of dirty electricity that your home’s power lines are carrying. When the dirty electricity level is lower, the electromagnetic radiation will also be lower.
Also, always install the inverter unit of your solar panel system away from areas where you spend most of your time. The distance will protect you from being exposed to solar panel system-produced EMFs.
So, do solar panels give off EMF? They most certainly do. While you can’t entirely solve this problem, you can use some strategies to reduce your exposure to solar panel radiation. Before setting up such a system, ask the supplier for information about their products, and choose the best components. This might cost some extra but it’s worth it.
Hopefully, you’ve found this article somewhat helpful. Stay safe. And thanks a lot for stopping by!