Monday, October 30, 2023

Solar Power

I got an estimate of $25K for a photovoltaic system that would get me to $0 from Idaho Power.  There is about $8K of federal and state tax credits.  Even if I had a month or two where there was insufficient daytime sunlight to fully charge the batteries, a few months where I had Idaho Power bills of a few dollars is worth having a system largely independent of the grid.  

In short? Probably not so well if they’re plugged in and working at the time of the pulse. 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 pulses’ signals, 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 solar 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.

It sounds like daytime use might survive if you replace the inverter.  Or it might survive just fine as long as you are not directly conected to the electrical grid.  (That would be my guess.)  My experience with backup generators is that they disconnect automatically at power loss, suggesting that if you are drawing power from the grid, you are not electrically part of the grid.  I am sure at least one EE is among my audience.

Someone makes EMP shielding devices.  Buying one is act of faith, unless you can bring your EMP generator to my house.

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