Solar Flares and Your Panels

Solar panel providers are often asked if their panels will last the distance, even if something like a solar flare hits. Let’s delve a little deeper…

There are many things in our modern world that can disrupt our way of life, but despite the very real probability of a solar flare affecting us at some point in the near future, an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) strike affecting our solar panels is extremely low on the spectrum.

The most common causes of an EMP are solar flares, sunspots or lightning strikes. This is not something new, but is a naturally occurring phenomenon that has occurred thousands of times in our past; however, the general population has become more aware of this as we have had an increased activity in sunspots and solar flares over the last couple of years. The largest recorded EMP strike – dubbed the Carrington Event – occurred in 1859 and this significantly interfered with the telegraph system of the day. Obviously, if this happened today, it would cause much more disruption. The manmade EMP being developed and used in modern weaponry is another extremely unlikely but valid consideration.

During a solar strike, a burst of high-energy light – which consists of x-ray and ultraviolet light – heads towards Earth at a fast speed, ionising the upper atmosphere and causing radio outages. Next, a radiation storm occurs, which isn’t too damaging for us, but could cause serious issues for astronauts not protected by our ionosphere. Finally, a slow-moving coronal mass ejection (CME) hits Earth, bringing with it a cloud of charged solar particles, which can overheat electrical systems and cause fluctuations to our electromagnetic field.

Thankfully, contemporary solar systems are built with solar disruption in mind. Your TV etc. might be toast, but your panels keep on keeping on. If by a stroke of bad luck your solar panels are affected, the inverter is load-protected – the system will automatically shut down and the worst-case scenario will be replacing a fuse. After that though, hey presto – your panels will be back up and running, taking advantage of all our beautiful sunshine.

The information at hand indicates that there have been many recorded reports of EMP activity all around the world, but no damage has been done to top of the range solar panels. Good news for all. In fact, our Trina multicrystalline panel has achieved two world records for performance under international testing, in Germany. In simple terms, this means that all the latest bells and whistles have been installed to protect your panels.

Fortunately for us, solar systems have low impedance circuits, so as long as the blast isn’t right on top of you and your solar panels (in which case you will have bigger issues than your solar panels), all will be fine. The biggest issue when discussing EMP damage and solar system concerns are surges that can increase the electromagnetic field strength coming through from the grid and damaging the inverter, but – as mentioned earlier – our solar systems are top of the line, with cut-off switches to prevent any damage. When the engineers press all the right buttons and ring the right bells to get the grid back on line, you are automatically ready to go.

The benefits of purchasing a solar system are endless and far outweigh the concern of an EMP blast, so give us a call to secure your solar future!

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