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Can Your Neighbor’s Solar Compromise Your Family’s Health?

Even if you don’t have solar photovoltaics atop your house, equipment located at homes near you can produce distorted power that makes its way into your home and bedrooms. It’s an industry secret: Solar inverters produce “dirty electricity” electrical waveform distortion that travels on wiring between homes that share the same power transformer. This back-feeding process is also known as “distributed impedance of an electrical conductor.”

Dirty Electricity has been linked, in several small but fascinating studies, to serious health effects including diabetes, cancer, ADHD, neurotransmitter dysregulation and asthma. Sensitive people specifically exposed to solar inverter-generated dirty electricity have reported a range of symptoms, such as headaches, restlessness and sleep disturbances.

Most homeowners have not yet heard that distorted electrical radiations may occur inside homes when a neighbor who shares the same electrical transformer has a photovoltaic solar system. Your physician will never read about this in the “high impact” mainstream medical journals. Nevertheless, it’s a real problem. I’ve personally measured this pollution when doing EMF field testing in Pasadena, Santa Monica, Malibu, Simi Valley, Thousand Oaks, Camarillo and Ventura.

Here are testimonies of people who either have rooftop solar or a nearby neighbor feeling the effects:

  • Alex (Orange County): “Within the last two years I added a solar energy system installed at home and from the moment it was turned on experienced physical symptoms. After turning the SV system off and on, I quickly realized that the symptoms were caused by the solar.”
  • Tim (Thousand Oaks): “Our next door neighbor installed a large rooftop solar system with two inverters just 10 feet from our bedroom. The same day their solar was activated my wife and I noticed that we felt agitated during the day and had a hard time falling and staying asleep at night.”

Inverters, Inverters Everywhere = Massive Dirty Electricity

While your solar PV inverter allows you to get usable current from the sun’s rays, there is a dark side. Inverters pulse off and on thousands of times per second in order to convert the DC electricity from solar panels to AC power.

Most inverters switch between 16,000 to 20,000 times per second producing dirty electricity frequencies such as 16kHz or 20 kHz plus trailing harmonics.

The Building Biology Institute states that Dirty Electricity micro-surge electrical pollution occurs in an intermediate frequency range (2 kHz – 100 kHz) between the lower power frequencies (called ELF) and the higher frequencies (HF – called radio wave or microwave).

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified both of these—ELF magnetic fields (2001) and HF fields (2011)—as Group 2B Possible Human Carcinogens.

In its conclusion, the World Health Organization (WHO) Environmental Health Criteria (ECH) Monograph 238—Extremely Low Frequency Fields (2007) states: “Acute biological effects have been established for exposure to ELF electric and magnetic fields in the frequency range up to 100 kHz that may have adverse consequences on health.”

Dirty Electricity from a multitude of sources travels between homes via a shared transformer and sometimes on ground currents.

Perspectives from Electrical Engineers, Solar Companies and EMF-Aware Doctors

The prestigious IEEE, the U.S. Dept. of the Navy, and some solar companies recognize that PV solar inverters produce electro-magnetic interference (EMI) and radiated emissions:

“Noise caused by inverter has spread to the disturbance both conducted and radiated emissions. In addition, the EMI can be transferred from one mode to another mode; this means that conducted EMI can be transferred to radiated EMI and vice versa.” IEEE Xplore

“Electro-magnetic interference (EMI) is typically taken to mean radiofrequency (RF) emissions emanating from PV systems….” U.S. Navy Renewable Energy Program Office

A few EMF-aware doctors, now, are talking about the adverse health effects caused by unfiltered inverter switching technology:

“PV inverters use semiconductor devices to transform the DC power into controlled AC power by using Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) switching…However, all PWM methods inherently generate harmonics and noise ….In order to reduce harmonics and switching noise, external filtering needs to be added.” Dr. Sam Milham testimony

“Many people who have installed solar panels (photovoltaic panels) on their homes are completely unaware of the fact that their inverters are a source of dirty electricity.” Dr. Joseph Mercola, EMF*d

An Ounce of Prevention Is Worth A Pound of EMF Mitigation

Dirty Electricity is often measured and monitored using an oscilloscope, line micro-surge meter or spectrum analyzer.

If you are thinking about getting solar for your home, please plan ahead very carefully. Rooftop solar installations often cause 4 problems for the homeowner and 3 problems for a neighbor (Dirty Electricity is just one concern).

Other variables include magnetic fields from improper solar panel placement, equipment proximity to humans and pets, system grounding contamination, stray EMFs from wiring and data communication/microwave radiation emissions and exposures.

An EMF expert who understands multiple aspects of solar safety can be an invaluable asset to your family — before you sign a highly restrictive solar lease contract.

Back-feeding Mitigation For Solar Adjacent Homeowners

Proper detection and measurement of your home’s power line dirty electricity transients, harmonics and grounding loop pollution is the first step. It’s worth bringing in an EMF Expert because he/she will have a more comprehensive diagnostic protocol along with a practiced eye for finding and reducing solar-related biological stressors.

DIYers may be tempted to use electrical receptacle plug-in type dirty electricity “filters” for sale on the internet. These plug-ins are actually capacitors more than filters and are not the most effective solution to mitigate powerful solar inverter-e-pollution.

I know persons with electro-sensitivity who tried using multiple plug-in filters all around the house — but removed them because they felt their symptoms had significantly worsened. A previous post discusses some pros/cons of using plug-ins in light of a study that was conducted.

Larger, whole house filters can be a huge blessing but should also be selected very judiciously. Some panel filters, for example, don’t attenuate low frequencies very cleanly. Others have been known to draw down power costing the homeowner money to operate.

For my clients, high performance filters are recommended that connect to a home’s main electrical panel (or between the inverter and the panel). They’re ruggedly designed and manufactured by an electrical engineer and typically cost between $1,300. – $4,000. depending on required specification.

The right panel filters can also do a great job cleaning dirty power from a wide variety of external sources. This includes electrical pollution from variable speed drive pool pumps which often produce 30 to 33 kHz dirty electricity. This particular frequency can agitate the human Central Nervous System and sensitive persons report great relief after filtration. It’s a twofer.

DID YOU KNOW? Dirty Electricity from solar inverters can effectively turn your home’s 2,000 or so feet of Romex electrical wiring into a radio frequency transmitter antenna radiating your family 365 days a year.

Encouraging Results

In California, solar is on almost every street and is now mandated for new home construction. Solar is here to stay and a big part of our energy future. Until healthier solar inverters come to market, however, whole-house clean electricity filters can be a great strategy for reducing unwanted dirty electricity micro-surge for a healthier and more relaxing home.

I had a client in Santa Monica who was a yoga instructor with solar p.v. at her house. As a result of my EMF home assessment I recommend, among other things, electricity panel filtration. Two filtration units were expertly installed the following week on her main electrical panel located outside.

While the installation was being done outside she was inside the house leading a yoga class. The six students were unaware of the filtration installation. The moment the filters were activated several students remarked that they felt a positive improvement in the feel of the room. They described it as a gentle sensation of relief.

On another occasion my electrician and I cleaned up the power at the home of an aerospace executive and his family in Simi Valley. They shared a pole transformer with a next door neighbor with a solar inverter. The moment the panel filter was activated the wife noticed a pleasant, subtle improvement. Bingo.

Human beings are bioelectrical systems. Our hearts and brains are regulated by internal bioelectrical signals. Environmental exposures to artificial low and high frequency EMFs caused by solar equipment can interact with fundamental biological processes in the human body.

In some cases of dirty electricity exposures, this may cause discomfort, or sleep disruption, or loss of wellbeing. Other times, the long term effects of high levels of dirty electricity can be disastrous (Dr. Milham’s Cancer study).

Schedule an EMF assessment today to know your EMF exposure levels. In the process, create a healthier home for your loved ones.