If you are trying to prepare for a potential disaster, whether natural or man-made, you may wonder if a solar-powered generator can withstand an EMP blast.
Solar-powered generators can withstand an EMP if they are properly shielded. However, electrical lines, wires, and any other equipment attached to the generator will most likely be rendered useless. There are ways to prevent damage to the entire system; however, it can be costly to do so.
If you currently own or are considering the option of installing a solar-powered generator on your property and you are concerned about whether or not these generators can withstand an EMP occurrence, continue reading for more information that may answer your questions.
Preparing for the Worst
With all of the uncertainty in the world, more and more people are switching to solar-generated power.
Some individuals may use solar-generated power as their main energy source, whereas others may be using it during peak times or for emergencies.
Whatever your reason for using a solar generator may be, you will want to be sure that you are prepared when disaster strikes, whether it is natural or man-made.
Just to clarify, the abbreviation ‘EMP’ stands for electromagnetic pulse. An EMP is a wave of electromagnetic radiation that travels at the speed of light.
Since an EMP happens so fast, there is no warning or chance for you to react.
To combat that issue, some scientists are working on innovative new technology that may be able to give us some warning at least 24 hours before an EMP occurrence happens.
When there is an EMP blast, electrons fall to the earth and come into contact with:
- Conductive materials
- Electrical components
- Power lines
When these electrons come into contact with the above-listed materials, they can cause enormous power spikes. These spikes result in complete grid failure and cause electronics to stop working either temporarily or permanently.
Causes of EMPs
Multiple factors can cause an EMP. The major contributors are as follows:
- Nuclear explosions
- Geomagnetic storms
- Man-made EMP-specific weapons
- Solar flares
Now that you know the basics of what an EMP is, we will discuss how it can affect a solar-powered generator.
We’ll also talk about how you may be able to prevent damage to your solar-powered generator and the equipment that is attached to it.
For more information, the Washington State Department of Health published an EMP fact sheet that goes over (in more depth) the definition, causes, and prevention methods for EMPs.
Making Your Solar Powered Generator EMP Proof
This is the part where you will need to get your checkbook out. If you have a solar-powered generator on your property, you will want to be sure that you have a reliable power source.
If there is a devastating EMP blast, there are certain measures that must be taken to save your equipment.
To keep your appliances and other electronic gadgets operating, you will need to do the following things.
Build or Buy a Faraday Cage
The first and most important thing you will need to do is purchase or build a Faraday cage large enough to contain your solar-powered generator.
You may be wondering what a Faraday cage is. In simple terms, it is merely a shield that deflects the waves of an EMP.
A Faraday cage shields its contents from static and non-static electricity. These cages are made of conductive materials to protect whatever, or whoever may be inside.
It is also important to create an access point where you can get to the generator should it need maintenance; however, you must be sure that the access area is sealed properly, or the EMP waves can penetrate it, and your cage will be useless.
The main issue from using a Faraday cage surrounding a solar generator is proper ventilation.
If there is no proper ventilation, the generator can overheat, resulting in loss of power.
A Faraday cage cannot have any gaps or openings because the pulse from an EMP can get into even the smallest opening.
Therefore, the solar generator inside the Faraday cage can only be stored, not used.
The best Faraday storage bag that I recommend is the Mission Darkness Revelation EMP Shield (affiliate link). It is specifically designed for generators and other large electronics.
It is also MIL-STD-188-125 certified, which means that it has been tested and meets the specifications required to prevent HEMPs, or high-altitude EMPs, from penetrating the inside of the bag.
Electrical Line Filters
To protect your wiring and everything connected to it in your home, professionals recommend that you have electrical line filters installed to stop the EMP pulse from damaging wires.
This list was not all-inclusive; it is best to consult with a professional to ensure you are doing everything safely and properly.
Solar-Powered Generators with EMP Safety
More people are jumping on the prepper bandwagon in today’s unpredictable world and environment and getting prepared for whatever disasters may lie ahead.
If you are preparing for the worst and want to be sure that you have a reliable source of energy, you may want to consider looking into a solar-powered generator designed to withstand EMP waves’ effects.
These generators are exceptional for home use or commercial use depending on the brand.
Large EMP-Tested Solar Generator Recommendation
The brand I recommend is Sol-Ark. Specifically for your home, off-grid cabin, or bunker, I recommend the Sol-Ark 12K All-In-One Pre-Wired Hybrid Inverter (affiliate link).
The reason I recommend this brand over others is clearly stated from Sol-Ark below.
“EMP hardened Sol-Ark handles over 140 blasts of EMP up to 100 KV per meter! EMP Hardened to TWICE Military Levels!”– Sol-Ark
The details of the above statement can be found in Sol-Ark’s 8K EMP testing article.
This system includes an AC inverter and two charge controllers along with several other elements that can be seen in the graphic below.
There are battery and solar panel inputs to connect to the system.
The battery I recommend (although there are several options to choose from) is the BigBattery 48V KONG 12kWh Powerwall (affiliate link).
It uses a LiFePO4 battery, which is currently the longest-lasting battery cell type. It is also a 48V battery, which meets the voltage requirement for the Sol-Ark 12K system.
To connect the battery to the Sol-Ark, you’ll need Anderson SB175 connectors (affiliate link).
The ones I linked to are 1/0 Gauge, meaning that they are the thickest wires (allow the most efficient energy transfer from the battery to the inverter).
Now obviously this system is not for everyone as it costs thousands of dollars for a complete system.
Best Portable Solar Generators to EMP-Proof
My solar generator recommendation for you to add EMP protection to is the Bluetti AC200P (affiliate link).
This system is not EMP-proof, but it will easily fit inside the EMP-proof Faraday bag that I mentioned earlier.
The AC200P has several port options and has a LiFePO4 battery rated for 3,500 lifecycles to 80% capacity. This is an enormous cycle life for a portable solar generator.
Another recommendation for you is the Titan solar generator (review article).
This solar generator has more solar input power and more AC inverter output power than the Bluetti AC200P, but it is more expensive.
One benefit of the Titan is that it has a modular design, meaning you can stack multiple batteries on top of each other for a more powerful off-grid system.
You can read through the differences between the AC200P and Titan in my comparison article found here: Bluetti AC200P vs Titan Solar Generator – Which Is More Dominant?.
History and Predicted Chances of EMP Occurrences
Until recently, the chances of an EMP occurrence were not very prominent.
Now, with atmospheric changes and increasing geopolitical tensions between countries with conflicting views, the possibility of an EMP occurrence could quickly become our reality.
When it comes to an EMP that has been caused by a solar flare/geomagnetic storm, the most recent events recorded were in 1859 and 1989.
It is said that we can expect a major solar flare/geomagnetic storm every 150 years. However, some scientists have done studies that show we may need to prepare to experience a major solar storm by the year 2025.
The most recent man-made EMP occurrence was when the United States government conducted Starfish Prime in 1962 (pages 3-4 in full report).
The EMP results can be found in the link above.
With all of the political unrest across the globe, the chances of an intentional attack are growing.
If the ones wielding the weapons don’t see fault in their ways, life as we know it will change significantly, and, for a while, the days of easy electricity may be nonexistent.
Protecting Your Solar-Powered Generator from an EMP
An impending EMP attack can be a very scary thought, and we would much rather think about other things.
However, it is a reality and a possibility of today’s world. Now that you know the facts about EMPs and how they can affect solar-powered generators, you can be better prepared for what may come in the future.
Many people are preparing themselves by installing solar-powered generators as an alternate power source should the grid go down.
With the information laid out in this article, you can do one of two things for EMP-proof power:
- Find a solar generator that has been EMP tested and certified (such as Sol-Ark’s systems)
- Build protection systems around your solar generator to protect it from EMP blasts (Faraday cage/bag)
I laid out the best solar generators to have for extreme cases like an EMP and natural disasters in a separate post found below.
You can build your EMP-proofing around one of these systems to keep you sufficiently powered off the grid.
Check out the post here: Top 5 Solar Generators to Have When SHTF.