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Thread: Solar panels and EMF's?

  1. #1

    Default Solar panels and EMF's?

    This question comes from my wife.

    We have installed 16 x 160 Evergreen panels on an awning on our back deck. The panels actually form the roof of the awning. The panels are not that high so when you are standing on the deck, your head can be within 1 or 2 feet of the back of the panels. So my wife is wondering, will a panel give off dangerous electro-magnetic fields? I say no, but some comfirmation from someone would help.

    Thanks

    Peter

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Solar panels and EMF's?

    No... The solar panels are DC (Direct Current). To have any meaningful electro-magnetic fields, you would need Alternating Current... House current is 60Hz, Microwave is ~2,000,000,000 Hz...

    The only danger is if you hit the bottom of the panels with a metal pole or something and pierce the backing/break the glass/pull down the wiring and ground yourself (such as in a puddle)... You would treat any exposed panel/DC wiring just like exposed house wiring.

    In fact, getting shocked by DC can be worse than AC--DC causes your muscles to contract and it is much more difficult to let go vs AC wiring.

    You did not say give the voltage of your panels (if grid tied or 48 VDC off-grid)--but there is sufficient energy in either to cause harm if contacted by bare skin and the right (wrong) circumstances.

    But, in any case, you will want to treat all exposed and energized wiring with respect.

    -Bill

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Solar panels and EMF's?

    If anything, the panels will offer protection from dangerous ionizing radiation from the direct electromagnetic radiation of the sun onto the top of your head while standing under them.

    Of course, a certain amount of sunshine is actually good for you...
    I mean, Wireless Transmitted Fusion energy.

    boB
    K7IQ

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    Default Re: Solar panels and EMF's?

    Quote Originally Posted by boB View Post
    Of course, a certain amount of sunshine is actually good for you...
    boB
    Ahh... the healthy, warm glow of a Fusion Reactor (at 93 million miles)
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Solar panels and EMF's?

    Quote Originally Posted by BB. View Post
    No... The solar panels are DC (Direct Current). To have any meaningful electro-magnetic fields, you would need Alternating Current...
    -Bill
    This is incorrect, You are thinking of a transformer. You can have a electro-magnetic fields from DC. The relays in you car are one example of this. A magnetic field depends on the power ( voltage X current ) and how the wire is routed. As in a relay, it is wound in a tight coil.

    Is there a field, yes, is it dangerous, doubt it. Why, the wire/panels is laid out over serval square feet. Just as the wiring in your house.

    As stated about I would be more consernd about someone/something hitting the wire itself.
    Ken
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Solar panels and EMF's?

    I did not want to get into the details... There are voltage fields and magnetic fields associated with DC electrical items too...

    But, at low levels, static electric and magnetic fields are pretty much assumed to not be harmful to biological life. We have the "north/south" magnetic field which will swamp most low power DC fields if you are any distance away, and the natural electrical gradient in an open field, very roughly, of 100 volts per meter (upwards of 3 million volts per meter just prior to a lighting strike).

    So--I was addressing what usually worries most people which is alternating fields which can affect the water molecules in our body (and how microwave ovens work). You can also get the same effect as AC from something that runs "DC" pulses--So, if this was a off-grid type battery charger--once the charger when into PWM mode--you could get EM (AC type) EM fields generated...

    Then one would need to worry about how good the coupling between the source (panels/wiring) and the object (person) would be... You have capacitive coupling and antenna effects...

    Basically, if you are worried about using a hair drier, vacuum cleaner, and/or home AC wiring and this is NOT a Grid Tied PV system-then perhaps a person would want to look deeper...

    But even if one looked deeper--I am not sure if anything could be decided.

    In the end, most EM drop with the square of the distance--so once you are away from the "transmitter" EM/field source by more than a few inches--the effects will drop off very quickly. For example, the cell phone next to your ear will probably have greater effects than the solar panels a foot or so above your head.

    Usually the worst effects from solar power will be interference with AM radios (and some other bands too).

    -Bill

  7. #7

    Default Re: Solar panels and EMF's?

    An off-topic thought. If you have a wall of the house behind that photovoltaic awning, consider painting it white, so a little extra sun will get reflected onto your panels at times...

  8. #8

    Default Re: Solar panels and EMF's?

    Thanks for the replies

    The system will be grid-tied. There will be two strings of panels, so the voltages will be pretty high. We are talking 240 volts per string. The electrician who is doing the connection looked at it and thought that I may need to cover the wires on the bottom of the panels as they will be open on the bottom. I had hoped to zip tie them to the cross members and hide them on the top of the crossmembers.

    Thanks for the input. I appreciate any suggestions.

    Peter

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Solar panels and EMF's?

    I don't know the code that well about what is required for your location--but you may wish to look into some metal conduit (exterior) if you have lots of little chewing animals.

    -Bill

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Solar panels and EMF's?

    birds too will do damage at times not to mention the sun and weather doing its thing to the insulation. conduit is a very good idea and is most likely required by the nec.
    as to dangerous electromagnetic fields, no there won't be any to my knowledge.
    NIEL

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