Every prepper appreciates the importance of energy. With electric energy generated and transmitted through the modern-day supply lines expected to experience a catastrophic failure in the event of an end-of-the-world event, preppers are now beginning to turn to renewable and highly portable energy-generation options such as solar power.
The usability and suitability of solar power, however, is doubtful, especially given the concern as to whether the solar panels and their connections can withstand a catastrophic electromagnetic pulse (EMP) emanating from a large nuclear detonation. With the nuclear threat on the rise, every serious prepper should endeavor to understand the vulnerability of solar panels to EMPs.
To effectively understand and accurately answer this concern, it is important to understand the origin and concept of an EMP wave. EMPs can emanate from various sources including a nuclear detonation, solar flare, or a large lightning strike.
Any equipment made of microchips and circuits is highly susceptible to being destroyed by an EMP wave. This fact implies that virtually every electronic device today could be affected, paralyzed, and rendered dysfunctional.
The vulnerability of Solar Panels to an EMP
The vulnerability of solar panels to an EMP wave, therefore, depends on their internal structure. Solar panels generally depend on electronic components and micro-circuits, though not huge or highly integrated. The internal working anatomy of many solar panels contains and depends on diodes to control the flow of current harnessed from the sun.
The diodes, being made of semiconductors, are highly vulnerable to high-current surges. In the event of an EMP, therefore, the diodes would certainly melt and render the whole solar panel useless.
Inverters and controllers, which are intricate components of solar panels, also render the solar panels highly vulnerable to EMP waves. It consequently implies that an EMP damage on the solar system would affect and paralyze the entire solar system at multiple points.
Also, EMP wave damages also occur in situations where electronic components are wired up into circuits since they complete the flow of current. The nature of installation of circuits in a normal electric configuration demands that every connection is earthed.
This very nature of the configuration makes the solar circuits’ connection vulnerable to an EMP wave. The high energy from the blast would flow through the inverters’ integrated circuits to the controllers, all the way to the battery; instantly destroying them all.
However, the nature and size of the damage would highly depend on the volume or size of the charge and the relative distance between the center of the detonation and the solar panels and circuits. A weaker detonation would imply that the wave would not be strong enough and this would cause minimal damage to the panels.
On the other hand, a denotation from a long distance would imply that the wave’s energy would significantly attenuate before reaching the solar panels to cause any damage.
Should You Keep Your Solar Panels in a Faraday Cage?
The only way to ensure the protection of solar panels from EMPs is through the use of Faraday cages which essentially encase the vulnerable parts such as the panels, inverters, controllers, and batteries.
It would, however, be impractical to encase the solar panel since doing so would hinder solar energy from hitting the surface of the panels. However, the inverter, battery, and controller can be encased and thus protect them from EMP damage.
We still recommend getting and using solar panels. We partnered up with a company that can give you a free estimate of how much you’ll save by switching to solar.