Letter Re: Does EMP Affect Solar Panel Systems?

EMP Solar Panel

Good day sir. The talk of EMP has greatly increased recently for many reasons you are well aware of. What would happen to either grid tied or non grid tied solar systems in this instance? What would happen to generators as well? – R.C.

HJL’s Comment:

Two of our Writing Contest sponsors, Portable Solar LLC and Quantum Harvest, LLC, both specialize in EMP hardened systems. You should check their sites out and also the videos that they have on YouTube. We have several other advertisers that sell Solar equipment and it would be worth your time to check with them as well, though they don’t specifically advertise EMP hardened systems. Generators are more robust (except perhaps for the modern inverter units), but if they are grid tied they are in trouble. Most generators are not grid tied though.

The short answer is “Yes”. Anything attached to the grid is probably toast. It is possible to protect against an EMP event with grid tied equipment, but the cost is so great compared to the risk that most don’t bother. For non-grid tied equipment, shielded and properly grounded wiring is the key along with components that have built-in protection. For systems that are already installed, you need to look at the installation practices that were followed. Check for shielded wiring or hard metal conduit in the construction. You will have to contact the manufactures of your equipment to know what kind of protection is built in.


  1. There are plenty of misleading claims about EMP effects and protection to both extremes:
    1) Everything electronic will die = you need nested faraday cages (not true)
    2) All nuclear power plants will go “Fukishima” (not true, they were all EMP hardened back in 1984).
    3) Simple lightning arrestors will save your solar. example https://ironedison.com/midnite-solar-lightning-arrestor (not true)

    Cyberattack, Solar Flare, and EMP would all destroy the Grid and most appliances plugged in.
    Here is a video showing EMP testing of solar panels, inverters, and other appliances. See Solar EMP testing here. https://youtu.be/ZbHK6Uqmzog
    In addition to us (www.PortableSolarLLC.com), both military and non-military EMP labs have tested “protected” solar panels and systems.

  2. The panels themsleves aren’t likely to be a problem but they usually go through modern electronics (MPPT) to the batteries and outputs. Those have the microcontrollers just like cell phones. Some are in metal like a faraday cage, but some are in plastic boxes.

    The panels are likely to survive, but you might want to keep a spare charge controller in a faraday cage.

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