Homes with self-sustaining energy sources as part of their structure, or homes referred to as “net zero” homes, are quickly becoming more and more popular in the world today. These homes generate all the energy needed to comfortably maintain a stable environment for the residents, and sometimes even generate more energy than will be needed with a combination of solar, wind and even geothermal power sources. Lowering monthly energy bills, not having to rely on an aging power grid and saving the environment make this way of running homes seem like a no brainer. Though the trend in the U.S. is leaning towards alternative forms of energy, with more and more homes being converted every year, the cost is still quite prohibitive for most.

 

A lot of infrastructure is needed to make your home ready for self-sufficiency, mainly a way of storing the energy gathered through your new equipment. CNBC wrote a popular energy storage solutions, the Tesla Powerwall, stating that a single unit cost $7,000. The costs continue when the article states, “Tesla recommends two units for a home to be powered 100 percent with renewable energy and have at least 24 hours of power during a utility outage, which brings the total cost to over $14,000 — excluding installation costs that range from $1,000 to $3,000, according to the company” (Higgins-Dunn, 2019). This possible $17,000 price tag can be a pretty large financial pill to swallow, especially when you also take into account that this cost does not include the actual energy gathering equipment (i.e. turbines and solar panels).

 

When a person decides to take on these costs, it is important to make sure that this investment is well protected. However, the protection may not be for what you are expecting. At solarpowerrocks.com, in an article in reference to the survivability of solar panels during a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) or Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP), states, “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” (Zientara, 2019). The website goes onto state a that an EMP hardened inverter would be the best option for protecting your equipment, but that isn’t the only option.

 

EMP Shield has a wide variety of EMP Protection devices for solar and wind power systems. The lowest price model runs about $350. When deciding if this level of protection is right for you alternative energy system, you should run a return on investment analysis for your specific system. For the sake of exercise, let’s just state that if an EMP or CME event were to strike your home and your solar panels would be the only part of your power system that survived. Based on the approximate price of the alternative energy infrastructure referenced earlier, you are looking at replacement bill of around $15,000-$20,000. That is a lot of money, and when you think of the possible costs associated with not being protected, $350-$575 per unit doesn’t seem to be that much of an investment. Especially if you are willing to make the large investment into getting your system off the ground anyway, a few hundred dollars to save you thousands down the road is a drop in the bucket.  Especially when considering ones home owners insurance deductible.

 

An EMP or CME may not happen in your lifetime, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be prepared. Lightning strikes can cause just as much damage to your home power system. Strike Check is a company that investigates electronics insurance claims. In a study to determine the main causes of damage to solar panels, they found, “For solar panels assessed by Strike Check technicians, the most commonly claimed perils were: Lightning (44%), Hail (19%) and Wind (12%). Our independent assessment revealed that 41% of those solar energy systems were Non damaged; 16% were Damaged by High Voltage Surge, and 8% were damaged by Lightning” (Strike Check, n.d.). This makes sense when you think about where solar panels are positioned. They are usually out in wide open areas, to avoid shade from neighboring structures. Additionally, they are usually the highest point in their area, for the same shading reason. This applies to wind power as well. Wind power devices are usually clear from obstruction and placed very high above other structures.

 

What it comes down to is what you feel is the greatest threat to your home. If you feel that a voltage surge could damage your power system by means of EMP, CME or Lightning, you’d have a lot of evidence to support your feelings. If this is something to be worried about, then protecting your investment should be on the top of your list. If you would like to explore protection options, visit www.empshield.com to see the options for protecting your alternative energy systems.

 

References

 

Higgins-Dunn, N. (2019, February 14). Net-zero energy homes have arrived – and are shaking up the US housing market. Retrieved May 29, 2019, from https://www.cnbc.com/2019/02/14/homes-that-produce-their-own-energy-might-be-the-future-and-california-is-inching-closer.html

 

Zientara, B. (2019, February 12). Will solar panels survive a nuclear EMP (and dear God, why do we have to think about this?). Retrieved June 2, 2019, from https://www.solarpowerrocks.com/solar-questions/will-solar-panels-survive-nuclear-emp/

 

Strike Check. (n.d.). Solar Energy Systems. Retrieved May 31, 2019, from https://strikecheck.com/2017/05/30/solar-energy-systems/

 

What is an EMP Shield?

EMP Shield is the worlds military tested  EMP protection technology for an entire home and vehicle electrical system.

Built to exceed military standards (MIL-STD-188-125-1), EMP Shield is also one of the worlds fastest whole home surge protectors operating in less than 1 billionth of a second.

EMP Shield is designed to protect an entire home from Lightning, CME (coronal mass ejection, power surges, and an EMP (electromagnetic pulse). Proven and tested at Keystone Compliance, a Federally approved Department of Defense (DOD) testing facility, Our EMP Shield was struck with over 40x EMP strikes with no impact to the device.

How Does It Work?

The EMP Shield can see and protect all the electronics and equipment connected to your electrical system. This is accomplished by shunting (shorting) the over voltage coming in from the Grid and the voltage surges that are collected within your home. Whether the electrons are collected within your home or are attempting to come into your electrical system from outside the home (the grid), the EMP Shield will see the surge and protect your electrical system.  The EMP Shield reacts in less than 1 billionth of a second. Since the shunting is completed incredibly fast, the over voltage is drained away from the equipment before the voltage can rise high enough to damage any equipment. We call this new technology SightSpeed™

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