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Survivability of Solar Panels after HEMP Event

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Survivability of Solar Panels after HEMP Event

Postby JohnEE » Tue Jan 02, 2018 1:53 am

Hello All,
Does anyone out there think Solar Panels would survive a HEMP without being in a properly constructed Faraday Cage? I wrote a few paragraphs on this subject, but the post seems to have disappeared. I was reading posts and some people here seem to think they might survive, I would like to understand what their thinking is? Robust PN junction, ESD diodes on supply lines?

Thank you in advance,
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Re: Survivability of Solar Panels after HEMP Event

Postby ForwardPreppers » Wed Jan 03, 2018 7:47 pm

I was really hoping that someone had some info on this. We asked our installer and he said he really wasn't sure. What we have read is a little encouraging that it depends on the location and strength as to how much damage they can avoid.
At this rate we are just hoping for the best - not the most prepared way to go but that's just not our area of expertise.

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Re: Survivability of Solar Panels after HEMP Event

Postby TRex2 » Thu Jan 04, 2018 5:03 am

Well, it accidentally got discussed in a different thread :)

viewtopic.php?f=121&t=56205&start=15#p529879
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Re: Survivability of Solar Panels after HEMP Event

Postby Matte » Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:42 am

A paper from Switzerland on the effects to solar panels subjected to a HEMP simulator. http://ece-research.unm.edu/summa/notes ... AN0047.pdf
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Re: Survivability of Solar Panels after HEMP Event

Postby John Galt 1 » Thu Jan 04, 2018 1:26 pm

First a video from a company that makes "EMP hardened" solar equipment. The unprotected panel survives the H1 wave but after the H3 wave with only puts out about half the power afterwards. Perhaps replacing the diodes would bring the unprotected panel back to 100%. The "hardened" panel the video maker is selling has no damage.
48xFAufcGWrX5sXF1KYpUpH9Bkw4Ugpu2K21oNDRAv8fcWyJ4esdGaEB44epZuR7tx9LFM3ZTbRqg7xUmySYRUMnQk2Lqvc

From this site https://solarpowerrocks.com/solar-quest ... clear-emp/ It pretty much agrees with most of the information I read over the years.

[b]So really… will solar panels survive an EMP?
In short? Probably not so well if they’re plugged in and working at the time of the EMP. Sorry to be a downer.
The good news is solar panels in and of themselves contain very little electronics that could be affected by an EMP. The bad news is they’re usually connected to wires with current flowing through them, which makes them susceptible to damage.
That’s because wires act like antennas that gather the EMP’s signal, as in the case of the E3 component of the EMP. Any panels attached to the grid will almost certainly be affected by a nuclear EMP. The Pulse might not completely zap them, but it’s likely their functionality will be greatly reduced. Even if the panels are hooked up in an off-grid configuration; if they’re connected at the time of the explosion, they’ll likely suffer serious damage.
On top of that, the sensitive electronics inside a solar inverter and charge controller would likely be fried by E1 before the panels go, too. There’s a chance that means the panels themselves could survive the blast, but then you’d have to replace the rest of your components.
[/b]
If the panels are not tied to the grid they will avoid the H3 wave and probably survive. Good lightning protectors (SPDs) and proper grounding will protect from the H2 wave. And the panels will survive the H1 wave, even in the testing video the unprotected panel survived the H1 wave generator.

If in the event the diodes are damaged from the H3 wave you may be able to replace them. Keep in mind that the H3 wave is very long, over 100 yards, so while the power lines coming into your home from the grid are very long the wires between your panels and batteries aren't long enough to catch the H3 wave. On the back of each panel there is a little black box with 3 (usually 3) roughly 10 amp diodes . Sometimes they are easy to get to, often they are encased in silicone so may be harder to change.

I do keep spare 10 amp diodes, an Exacto knife to cut the diodes out of the silicone which most of my panels have; and a butane soldering iron for panel repair if ever needed. I also keep a basic spare inverter and controller along with a AC/DC voltave and amp clamp meter in an EMP resistant container.
Hopefully will never been needed but I've been at this for a while and making electricity was a business related hobby for years.
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Re: Survivability of Solar Panels after HEMP Event

Postby ForwardPreppers » Thu Jan 04, 2018 4:25 pm

Thanks JG1 - we are going to look into getting these spare pieces and parts for our system.

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Re: Survivability of Solar Panels after HEMP Event

Postby NJMike » Thu Jan 04, 2018 5:02 pm

Appreciate the PDF and video info being shared here. This topic has me doing a bit of follow up reading.

John Galt 1 wrote:I do keep spare 10 amp diodes


Curious on the diodes, as I have a small solar setup that I'd like to be able to repair if need be, like Mrs. FP.
I assume those spares are Schottky diodes and not general purpose, correct?
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Re: Survivability of Solar Panels after HEMP Event

Postby TRex2 » Thu Jan 04, 2018 6:40 pm

John Galt 1 wrote:...
...
That’s because wires act like antennas that gather the EMP’s signal, as in the case of the E3 component of the EMP. Any panels attached to the grid will almost certainly be affected by a nuclear EMP. The Pulse might not completely zap them, but it’s likely their functionality will be greatly reduced. Even if the panels are hooked up in an off-grid configuration; if they’re connected at the time of the explosion, they’ll likely suffer serious damage.
On top of that, the sensitive electronics inside a solar inverter and charge controller would likely be fried by E1 before the panels go, too. There’s a chance that means the panels themselves could survive the blast, but then you’d have to replace the rest of your components.

If the panels are not tied to the grid they will avoid the H3 wave and probably survive. Good lightning protectors (SPDs) and proper grounding will protect from the H2 wave. And the panels will survive the H1 wave, even in the testing video the unprotected panel survived the H1 wave generator.

If in the event the diodes are damaged from the H3 wave you may be able to replace them. Keep in mind that the H3 wave is very long, over 100 yards, so while the power lines coming into your home from the grid are very long the wires between your panels and batteries aren't long enough to catch the H3 wave.

Way over 100 yards. Closer to 100 miles. Your assessment is absolutely right assuming the system has good lightning protection (for the H2 component).

On the back of each panel there is a little black box with 3 (usually 3) roughly 10 amp diodes . Sometimes they are easy to get to, often they are encased in silicone so may be harder to change.

I do keep spare 10 amp diodes, an Exacto knife to cut the diodes out of the silicone which most of my panels have; and a butane soldering iron for panel repair if ever needed. I also keep a basic spare inverter and controller along with a AC/DC voltave and amp clamp meter in an EMP resistant container.
Hopefully will never been needed but I've been at this for a while and making electricity was a business related hobby for years.

I think you have the best strategy for dealing with this.
I am not really that impressed with that company selling "hardened" panels and controllers.
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Re: Survivability of Solar Panels after HEMP Event

Postby John Galt 1 » Thu Jan 04, 2018 8:27 pm

NJMike wrote:
Curious on the diodes, as I have a small solar setup that I'd like to be able to repair if need be, like Mrs. FP.
I assume those spares are Schottky diodes and not general purpose, correct?


Correct on the Schottky diodes. A while back I ran across an article on a newer type of diode (can't remember the name) that was supposedly much more EMP resistant. I never could find them to buy some but perhaps their the type the "EMP proof" panels in the video are using.
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Re: Survivability of Solar Panels after HEMP Event

Postby JohnEE » Fri Jan 05, 2018 1:20 am

First off, you guys are great. JG1 and TR2, I love the discussion.

I posted the links to the space Review article "The EMP threat: Fact, fiction, and response" on the other site, I will post it here as well. It is a good read.

In an off grid system, E3 will have little to no effect due the required line lengths (TR2 is right when he talks miles are needed). Generally speaking a good Surge suppressor should handle both E2 and E3 on a grid tied system (although, depending on the strength of the E3, it might blow through it.... to that end, I liked the idea JG1 shared using nested surge suppressors).

The coupling effect of E1 is most prevalent in cables (antenna) of 1 - 10 m in length.
Agreed that the inverter and charge controller will be at high risk for E1 damage.

That all being said, the article real work example (Soviet Test 184, 290 km, 300kT) as generating 5KV/m - 10kV/m. This is lower than I would have expected, but it is based on real data (at similar latitude detonation to the US). Based on this, within the solar panel itself (not connected) I don't think I can get to the min 15V interruption/damage level of Si semiconductor. What this means is that spare solar panels in the garage NOT IN A FARADAY CAGE should comfortably survive E1.

"The EMP threat: Fact, fiction, and response"
Please note the date of this article is 2010, some of the assumptions he made were prior to North Korean missile development we have seen in the last couple of years.
http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1549/1
http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1549/2
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