EMP effects on Solar Panels and wind generators?

My house runs completely on solar panels and I’ve heard that an EMP weapon “Electro Magnetic pulse” would fry them making them useless. I’ve also heard talk of possibly protecting electronics underground, is this possible? and if so how deep would you have to go? Naturally what’s on your roof would be toasted so what’s underground might be a large supply of solar cells packed away for panel construction later after the threat was gone. Of course if you’re hit again with another EMP you’re screwed right?

Also curious about the effects of an EMP on a wind generator that uses a permanent magnet alternator. I guess if the EMP magnetism was strong enough it could over heat and burn up the wire coils, not really sure of the effect on the permanent magnets.

I’ve read where it can actually magnetize an engine to the point it won’t even move. What steps can we take for our homes to prepare in case of an attack of this sort ?

This entry was posted in Solar Energy and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to EMP effects on Solar Panels and wind generators?

  1. First Last says:

    Electro magnetic pulses are only currently a concern if you think you might get struck by a nuclear weapon of some sort. If you are close enough to get affected by the EMP shock wave then frying your electrical is the least of your problems. Depending on how concerned you are about nuclear attack, I would just move to a place less likely to be a direct target.

  2. Anurag Tiwari says:

    Dear jerry, ur’s probelem is not so serious but not ordinary .i am using solar pannel system in australia.but i am not face any probelem,so i give an advice for u.in afternoon when a huge no.of heat produced if u guess any probelem so you can contact the specialist of solar pannel system.do not use underground idea because it not successful and it’s westing of ur money.also fitted spc in ur solar system.
    Any answer the robert jerico answers team not sure100% we not responsible any mistake .it’s only advice.the anurag tiwari is our source on yahoo.

  3. Dying Turtlemouse says:

    An electro magnetic pulse would short out any electronics and there is not protection from it. An EMP reverse magnetizes everything and fries the circuits because of overheating.

  4. Difdi says:

    The primary damage from an electro-magnetic pulse occurs in delicate electronics; The wiring of the device acts like an antenna, and the pulse is converted into electricity by the antenna. The electricity then fries the rest of the device, since the electronics are not rated for that intensity of electrical current. There are two main ways to resist this sort of damage.

    The first is so-called hardening, that is, to build the devices so that they can tolerate much more powerful current than they typically use. A good example of this, is that old fashioned vacuum tubes are all but immune to EMP, since their normal operating current is greater than that of the pulse at any range where the tube would not be physically destroyed by the bomb blast. Modern electronics can be built using heavier gauge wiring, more solidly constructed processors and so forth to achieve the same result.

    The other way involves what is called a Faraday Cage. Essentially, the Cage is a grounded grid of wires, surrounding a given device, that absorb the pulse and channel it away, the Cage functioning as the receiving antenna, instead of the printed circuit board.

    Solar panels are fairly vulnerable to an EMP, due to their low individual operating voltages. There’s no good way around it, since there aren’t any hardened solar panels available to the civilian market (and very few to the military) and a Faraday Cage would block sunlight from reaching the panels. A Faraday Cage would be ideal for shielding a storage facility however.

    Wind turbines, on the other hand, are generally operating at a high enough voltage, that an EMP is no threat to them whatsoever. If they experience an EMP strong enough to repolarize their magnets, they’re also so close to ground zero they’d be vaporized by the atomic fireball. So worrying about the EMP is pretty pointless either way.

    EMP is a natural byproduct of a nuclear bomb going off, but there are other sources of it, though none of them are as strong as a nuclear EMP. Lightning bolts, for example, produce a small EMP near the space they pass through or strike. EMP “bombs” exist, though bomb is not really the right word, that work by compressing an electro-magnetic field then shorting it out. Some types of catastrophic electrical equipment failures can produce small EMP effects, but are generally so weak that anything close enough to be fried by the EMP, will usually be physically destroyed in the explosion.

    Overall, EMP is not really a major concern when planning alternative energy generators.

  5. J. says:

    An EMP event would destroy the solar panels. Think of them as one giant transistor.

    The power generating portion of the windmill would fare okay, but if you do not incorporate a mechanical braking system or furling, the chances of the windmill overspeeding is very real. If the event occurs during a wind storm. The electronics of the charge control system would be the part that is vulnerable- not from “antenna effect”- but from the broad spectrum RF energy that would find resonance in the electronic components themselves- those microwires would overload and burn out if you were close enough to ground zero. “nuclear hardened” electronics are not widely available in the consumer market except in derilect equipment sold surplus- it would have needed to have specd in the contract, and normally that is not known unless you have the documentation for the components. Or be knowledgable enough about what you are looking at to take the gamble.

    Batteries would be unaffected if the system did not short out completely, the wiring would be fine, it is just your control electronics that would be imapcted.

    EMP would be random in what consumer electronics would be affected as you moved away from ground zero. If you have an older vehicle that uses point ignition, and electromechanical regulator in the charging system- if those were burned out- your biggest concern would be where are you going to dig your grave- you would not have much time left to live if it were the result of nuclear detonations. That much energy will have likely left you blind.

    You can magnetize an engine block and it will still operate. Most have aluminum pistons and would largely be unaffected. Even an engine with iron pistons would not be able to retain enough magnetism to prevent it from operating either.

    There is a lot of hype surrounding EMP, but the reality is the impacts are more likely to be indirect such as the loss of the national grid if the control systems get knocked out. Of you happen to be within the region impacted, your home computer might not work, but your new car might start and run just fine. or Vice versa.

    It is the indirect impacts that will cause social unrest- what happens if there is no power for a month, no beer, no TV, no football, no sports. and most of all- no food. That will be what you should worry about.