Although solar energy is generally safer and cleaner compared to other fuels, it is not 100% ecological or safe. So can solar panels cause headaches?
Solar panels do not increase an individual’s risk of getting headaches. While some solar systems may have elements that emit radiation, the level of emission is usually fairly low. These levels typically comply with the Federal Communications Commission’s standards for electrical devices.
If you are worried about the potential health effects of solar panels, continue reading to learn about the impact they can have on your health.
Can Solar Panels Cause Headaches?
Many families have installed solar panels in their homes. Solar cannot only reduce your energy bills, but it’s also good for the environment.
Now, depending on the sun for energy is a great fuel alternative. But is there more to the story? Many homeowners often wonder what risks solar energy exposes them to. There’s a growing concern about whether the solar panels we install in our properties harm our lives.
That’s because these systems contain materials that produce electromagnetic fields and electric currents. So to answer can solar panels cause headaches?
Let’s first understand how they work and the risks they pose to our lives.
What Exactly Is a Solar Panel?
To understand the health impact that solar panels might have, we first need to know what they are. These are photovoltaic cells that are made from glass, aluminum, and silicon materials. When the cells absorb sunlight, the silicon atoms inside start moving and travel towards aluminum, which causes direct current.
This direct current (DC) is, then converted into alternating current (AC), using a solar inverter, which powers your devices. Apart from the large panels installed in the roofs, a small panel can also be placed on a calculator.
Do Solar Panels Cause Headaches?
We’ve already mentioned that solar panels have some materials that produce electromagnetic fields and electric currents. Plus, some solar cells are said to have toxic elements or compounds, including gallium arsenide and cadmium telluride.
However, these elements don’t increase a person’s risk of getting headaches or other diseases. While solar systems have components that emit radiation, the level of emission is limited. Most panels comply with the Federal Communications Commission’s standards for electrical devices.
Plus, these systems release direct current power, which is then transported by electric wires in the form of AC. Therefore, they don’t directly emit electromagnetic fields. Additionally, while they might contain toxic elements, most solar panels for use at home are designed with safe silicon technology.
Thus, the health concerns of these panels aren’t overly worrying.
Solar Panels and Radiation
Electronics emit electromagnetic (EM) fields and radiofrequency (RF) radiations. In a solar system, the inverter that converts DC currents to AC produces these radiations. EM fields are believed to cause health issues for some individuals. However, this depends on the level emitted by a device.
Solar panels emit different amounts of EMF. This difference is caused by factors like how big the panel is, how many panels you have, whether you have other DC sources, and the efficiency of your inverter. Therefore, we can’t say the exact amount of dirty electricity (DE) solar panels give.
So does that mean that we can’t know whether solar panels can cause health problems before installing them? No. You can use an oscilloscope and a microscope to measure the amount of DE in your home.
What Are the Health Risks of RF Radiation?
When people hear the word radiation, they associate it with powerful x-rays and nuclear bombs. However, that term also includes visible light and radio waves that are not dangerous.
When the frequency of electromagnetic radiation is high, it causes health problems. For instance, if you increase the frequency of a light beam, it becomes ionizing radiation, which can cause cancer and cellular damage. However, in low frequencies, RF radiation is harmless.
It’s why it is used in dental x-rays and other harmless procedures.
What Are the Health Risk of EM Radiation?
All particles that are charged by electronics produce EM fields. Now, since our protons and electrons are electric-powered, it means that we also generate EMF. Some EMR examples include:
- Ultraviolet Light
- Radio waves
- Visible light
- Gamma rays
Solar inverters emit some EM radiation when converting DC to AC that powers your home. This conversion can create dirty electricity, which is biologically harmful. DE has been linked to various conditions like headaches, tinnitus, insomnia, and muscle weakness among individuals who experience electrohypersensitivity.
However, even in other people, it can affect them acutely.
But note that there’s no actual evidence proving the negative effects of EMR. While different studies claim that this radiation can cause certain cancers, some say that the currency emitted by solar panels is too low to cause any known health condition.
What Are the Benefits of Solar Panels?
1. Saves the environment
Solar energy is considered safe and clean and does not emit dangerous substances to the environment. That not only saves the planet, but also our health.
2. Increases the value of a home
The growing demand for green energy makes homes using solar panels more attractive than those depending on traditional energy sources. Solar energy can increase a home’s value by approximately 2.5%, but this depends on the location.
Solar panels may be expensive to install at first. However, with time, your monthly energy bills will reduce. But how much money you save depends on whether the place you live receives a lot of sunlight, the number of panels you have, and the amount of energy you consume.
However, you can expect some reduction nevertheless.
Are There Any Disadvantages of Using Solar?
Yes. Solar panels have several drawbacks like:
1. Not suitable in cloudy places
The effectiveness of solar panels depends on the sun. In areas that have cloudy climates, it’ll take a long time for your investment to pay off.
2. They may have some environmental impact
To make these systems manufacturers can use toxic chemicals like hydrogen, sulfuric acid, acetone, etc. Plus, during manufacturing, water, fuel, transportation, and other useful resources are used.
So while solar panels reduce greenhouse gases, they also cause some environmental issues.
3. High upfront costs
Solar energy will eventually reduce your electricity bills, but it requires a large amount to install. It costs around $10000-$27000 to have a solar panel installed in your house. And many homeowners may not afford these upfront fees.
What Are the Health Benefits of Solar?
Solar power has been linked to various health benefits. As it reduces air pollution, it helps create a healthy environment for us. According to MIT, air pollution is said to cause more than 200,000 early deaths every year in the United States.
Also, because it is a type of renewable energy, using it reduces cancer prevalence.
Should I Install a Solar Panel?
Well, solar panels can add some DE to your home, which has a biological impact. But we should mention that we all are different. Sensitive people tend to react strongly to radiofrequency, while others will only react to magnetic or electric fields.
Some people will have EHS symptoms, and others will not even after using solar panels for a long time. Now, there’s no way of telling how you’ll react to these radiations before you are actually exposed to them. Therefore, the decision to whether you should or shouldn’t install a solar panel is really up to you.
But if you are going to, here is our advice:
Determine whether a company conducts EHS tests and has been certified. Before purchasing your solar panel, read the product label to determine what environmental safety it has undergone.
Although certifications don’t guarantee safety, they help you know whether a product was manufactured with high standards. Some certifications to look for include:
- OHSAS (Occupational Health and Safety Management)
- ISO14001:2015 (Environmental Management Standard)
- ISO 9001:2015 (Quality Management Standard)
Also, check out for fire and electrical safety in your product.
HERE are some of the best solar panels that I’ve used.