Do solar panels emit harmful EMFs?

Hi folks, I'm a newbie, and about to install a bunch of solar panels on my home's roof. I've been hearing some news lately that some people are saying that solar panels may emit harmful EMF (electro-magnetic fields) and should not be installed wherer people live.

Can anyone provide a response to this worrying assertion?

My first thought was, yes, perhaps they do emit EMFs, but nothing more than a TV, or a cell phone. But I have no technical understanding of this at all...

Any ideas or advice would be helpful ...

cheers, Mark


  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,609 admin
    Re: Do solar panels emit harmful EMFs?

    In general, Solar panels are DC devices, so you do not have the alternating magnetic fields of AC (alternating current) power (your home wiring and appliances).

    There may be some ripple (variable DC current)--but if this is a Grid Tied system, those levels will still be pretty low when compared to you running a toaster or electric mixer.

    If this was an off-grid system, you would have some DC switching currents (caused by the solar charge controllers) that could be higher levels--but they should be no worst than normal AC home wiring.

    The only time I have ever seen any "obvious" issues with large AC magnetic fields was when the company installed a new office that backup to the AC Mains Transformer closet that supply power to the office complex.

    A couple of software engineers had Monitors (the "old" picture tube type) that "swam" because of the magnetic fields from the power transformer.

    On the whole, the electrical field issues with DC solar panels should be much less than the typical AC fields in your home, and less than the earths magnetic field (when you are more than a couple inches or feet from the wiring/panels).

    There are people that appear to be susceptible to EM fields--but many of those folks seem to even have issues with normal house wiring too...

    Cell phones, microwave ovens, and even computers emit electrical fields... Typically, for low frequency fields (less than 180 MHz) they come the cabling. Above 180 MHz, the fields come from gaps in sheet metal cases and such.

    The high frequency fields (microwave type) are the ones that heat food (causing polar molecules like water H2O to flip back and forth) and damage eyes (i.e., radar operators exposed to early microwave radar systems during WWII) have levels are many 100's to 1,000's (or even millions) of times higher than is typically allowed in commercial equipment.

    The fundimental frequencies from the DC side solar power systems is probably down in the 100's of Hz--Quite a huge difference.

    Typical Grid Tied inverters these days should be rated to meet EMI requirements to prevent interference with radios/tv's/aircraft navigation equipment/etc.

    To give you a very rough idea of how low the radio frequency transmission (30MHz and above) levels from computers (electronics) are--I would setup an antenna ~10 feet away from our computer under test. This was in San Jose CA (major city)--If I could see any emissions from our computer that was above all of the 1,000's of radio transmissions in the air around us--Then I would assume that those frequencies I saw were probably going to cause us problems in open field testing later (50 miles away, in a deep sheltered valley with the antenna 10 meters away).

    I would not worry specifically about the emissions from solar panels and power systems over that of normal AC house wiring or your cell phone (which are hugely higher power levels--from an engineering point of view).

    If you start reading around post #7 in this thread--this person has tremendous issues being around any "modern" devices because of his health issues... If you where in his shoes--then I would be worried about more than just the solar panels.

    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Do solar panels emit harmful EMFs?

    BB, your reply is most re-assuring.

    I don't know if I'm mixing issues, but I used the term EMF - are these the same as EMR (electro-magnetic radiation), or are they are a different thing to worry about?

    Again, I suspect there are no issues with EMRs emitted from solar panels, but will ask anyway...

    cheers, Mark
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,609 admin
    edited April 2016 #4
    Re: Do solar panels emit harmful EMFs?

    EMF (electro magnetic field), emi (electro magnetic emissions) are all similar words describing aspects of electromagnetic waves...

    And, while I, personally, am not too worried about normal fields around the home--it is not to say that I am somebody in authority to say that there is no concern/danger from such exposure...

    For example, if I had a choice, I would not place my bed right next to electrical wiring in the wall (especially heavy current like to an electric heater or air conditioning power supply). And, I am not terribly thrilled to use an electric blanket / heating pad unless I am ill.

    There is lots of information out there and people on both sides of the safety issue. Here are a few links:
    The potential health effects of the very low frequency EMFs surrounding power lines and electrical devices are the subject of on-going research and a significant amount of public debate. In workplace environments, where EMF exposures can be up to 10,000 times greater than the average, the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has issued some cautionary advisories but stresses that the data is currently too limited to draw good conclusions.[4]
    The potential effects of electromagnetic fields on human health vary widely depending on the frequency and intensity of the fields. For more information on the health effects due to specific parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, see the following articles:
    Each frequency range of EM fields has its own issues/dangers.

    But, from an "engineering point of view"--There is nothing of special concern from EM emissions from a solar system that is any different than normal house wiring and home electronics.

    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Do solar panels emit harmful EMFs?

    in a nutshell, don't worry about it as it won't harm you. there's nothing harmful being emitted from pvs.
  • dwhdwh Solar Expert Posts: 1,341 ✭✭✭
    Re: Do solar panels emit harmful EMFs?

    Voodoo science and urban legend. The EMR/EMF hokum was mythbusted/debunked long ago.
  • bryanlbryanl Solar Expert Posts: 175 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Do solar panels emit harmful EMFs?
    Voodoo science and urban legend.
    the thing is that electrical and magnetic fields and radiation from man made things represent technology and are not 'natural' and therefore must be bad someway or somehow.

    When it comes to solar and related 'alternative' energy production, this ideology produces dissonance and that results in all sorts of 'interesting' adaptive behavior. One the one side is the FUD such as in the OP and on the other is the obsessive efforts to reduce energy consumption.

    There has been a considerable amount of research done to detect hazards or harm from non-ionizing radiation and electrical and magnetic fields. More research is planned because there has been nothing found that definitely shows any harm (usual caveats for nominal circumstances). Some folks will not accept the evidence and insist there must be something there, so they will keep looking no matter how much money or how much effort must be expended. (another indication of the emotional dissonance)

    It's be OK with me if they kept their fears to themselves, but they don't. A lot tax monies end up going to help them handle their dissonance in areas such as research, subsidies, and regulation. That hurts.
  • jesfxtjesfxt Registered Users Posts: 1
    I dont care what all of u expert are saying. I am living in singapore, 6days ago inside my flat i was begining to feel a tingling feeling in my body the first and second day. The third and fourth day my body dehydrated,feel more mild pricking all over and also feels like mild sunburn inside me. Fifth and sixth day now, some part of my skin had mild rashes and mild abrasion. At first call the police, then civil defence,then national enviroment agency, to ask them for some answers. Civil defence with their detector, say they can only detect if theres a very high or dangerous level of radiation. They also ask my husband(my husband doesnt stay at home most of the time, only come back to rest and sleep,so hes less proned to what im feeling,only some headache) whether i have any mental issues.
    So im left with no answers or investigation into the matter. I went round my building trying to find what is causing this. I found out later theres a notice paste on the wall at the ground floor, saying they are installing this so-call grid tied solar photovoltaic system on every flat rooftop(abt 20-30 flats in this area),installation duration for a period of sixth month. My flat had been installed and started operating full scale six days ago. At first I dont know what it is, until i read thru in the internet...My symtoms are called emf hypersentivity due to the very low radiation. U dont get it until u stayed there for a while,24/7.Some pple just takes days, some takes months to get their biological cells activated by the ‘dirty electricity’ and become sensitive. It will kill u , just a matter of how long,days, months or years ,if u are at home longer hours every day. Good luck to u,my friend. Or if ur area does not hav too many installed too near to one another, and also urs is not a large scale system then i think it might be different.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,609 admin

    I am very sorry to read about your severe health issues.

    The original question about about Solar Panel Electrical Emissions... And they, by themselves, do not really generate much electrical emissions (mostly just a steady state magnetic field--Just like the North/South electrical field of the earth).

    What would, technically, create a EMF signal is the Grid Tie AC inverters used to convert the DC power from solar panels to the AC power in your building's wiring. In general, the "high frequency/low energy" emissions from the GT inverters is designed to be low (high emissions could interfere with radio and tv signals)--So far, I have never met anyone that has been affected by EMI (electro magnetic interference). I used to design various electronic test gear and took it out for compliance testing. Open electronic circuits on a lab bench can have (relatively) high emissions (AM radios do not receive very well as an example)--The equipment when packaged for use by customers had (according to standards) low emissions.

    There is wiring (typically) in the walls of homes and apartments. And if you are near the main power panel (building transformer/switch gear) can have low frequency (50 or 60 Hz) fields. But while I would try to avoid those situations in my home--These types of fields do not seem to (usually) cause people issues either.

    There is a university in Singapore that has professors/classes interested in alternative power--Perhaps you can ask one of them for more information or even review your apartment to see if there is anything that was done that could expose you to unusually high EMF.

    Nanyang Polytechnic | School of Engineering

    Personally, I would not think that a standard GT Solar installation is responsible for your medical issues--But if you are worried that your GT Solar/Apartment electrical system may be the source--Working with University/Students could help you understand what is or is not happening.

    Good Luck,

    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Raj174Raj174 Solar Expert Posts: 795 ✭✭✭✭
    edited April 2016 #10
    Hi Jesfxt,

         I had the same concern a couple of years ago, although not as severe, as my wife started getting headaches after we moved into a home we had just purchased. After some research I realized that a smart electric meter which uses a RF transmitter, was within 5 to 7 feet of the head of our bed. We rearranged our room, and the headaches soon stopped. I was still curious and wanted to know just how much RF radiation was in our environment. I found and ordered a RF/LF detection meter. This is the one I bought.

    It measured dangerous levels of RF around the smart meter to about 8 feet in some areas. I Also get high readings from the wireless internet router out to about 4 feet. However, I have measured solar PV and equipment and get nothing by the PV and just a small RF reading from the inverter and charge controller.

    I do not have a grid tie system, so I do not have a grid tie inverter or micro inverters. So all I can say is the RF radiation is probably not coming from the PV paneling itself. If the price of the RF meter is within your budget then at least you will know how much radiation you have and where it is higher or lower in your home.    

    Good luck,

    4480W PV, MNE175DR-TR, MN Classic 150, Outback Radian GS4048A, Mate3, 51.2V 360AH nominal LiFePO4, Kohler Pro 5.2E genset.
  • zonebluezoneblue Solar Expert Posts: 1,218 ✭✭✭✭
    Indeed, its possible/likely that the grid tie install tripped the installation of new/ additional/ relocated smart metering. Smart meters are by design an RF device, and have been shown to emit significant bursts of cell phone like radio emmisions. I too consider that there are no significant RF emissions from solar inverters, and from the panels themselves effectively none.
    1.8kWp CSUN, 10kWh AGM, Midnite Classic 150, Outback VFX3024E,

  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 6,138 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I would worry more about a cell phone in your pocket while you are driving. All those towers connecting and your cell going to full output.
    Easily avoided by not keeping anything close to your body except your significant other.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
    E-mail [email protected]

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