Can Solar Panels Cause Headaches for Users?

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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You may consider installing solar panels to obtain green energy, but have you ever asked yourself about the problems and challenges connected to solar panels? Solar panels are associated with many benefits, including minimizing electricity bills, reducing dependency on fossil fuels, and being environmentally friendly. But there is more to the solar panel story. We will discuss the shortcomings of using solar panels. Additionally, we will find out if solar panels cause headaches for their users. Read on to find out more!

What Are Solar Panels?

Solar panels or PV panel are devices that collect/ absorb the sun’s rays and converts them into electric current or heat that can be used to power electrical loads. These devices have photovoltaic cells consisting of glass, aluminum, and silicon. The photovoltaic cells absorb the sunlight, and silicon atoms in the cells shift due to the direct sunlight. The shifting electrons move along the aluminum, creating a DC or direct current.

What are Solar Panels?

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A DC to AC converter converts the AC or alternating current to power the gadgets like refrigerators in your house. Power inverters come in various types, including microinverters, which function at the level of every panel. We also have hybrid inverters that store ad converts energy. Finally, string inverters are available for every row of panels or are central to the whole system.

How Solar Energy Is Harnessed by Solar Farms and Solar Panels

How solar energy is harnessed by solar farms and solar panels

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Photovoltaic technology is utilized in solar panels in your houses, larger solar farms, or businesses. The solar radiation emitted by the sun is absorbed by the PV cells. It is then changed into electricity stored in batteries or fed to the power grid.

More so, concentrating solar thermal power is used in larger power plants. In this solar technology, mirrors reflect solar radiation and change it into electricity in this solar technology.

Do Solar Panels Cause Headaches?

Solar panels have materials that produce electromagnetic fields and electric currents. Plus, some solar cells are said to contain some toxic compounds or elements, like gallium arsenide and cadmium telluride. However, all these elements do not increase your risk of headaches or other diseases.

Do Solar Panels Cause Headaches?

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While solar systems have elements that emit radiation, the emission level is limited and does not have major effects on your health. That said, most panels comply with the Federal Communications Commission’s standards for electrical devices, meaning they are hardly the reason behind your headaches.

Again, these systems discharge direct current power, which is then transported by electric wires in the form of AC. Thus, they do not directly emit electromagnetic fields. Furthermore, while they might possess toxic elements, most solar panels for use at home are designed with safe silicon technology.

All in all, solar panels do not increase a person’s risk of getting headaches. While some solar systems may have elements that emit radiation, the emission level is usually rather low.

Health Effects/Risks of Solar Panels

Health Effects/Risks of solar panels

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Did you know that despite the benefits of solar panels, the panels have some health risks?

1. Solar Panels Electromagnetic Radiation

Do you recognize that the current solar systems utilize elements that radiate a high degree of radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation, exposing you to health risks? All your electronic gadgets develop EMF or electromagnetic fields, which are surrounded by electromagnetic radiation when running, including solar panels and inverters. As a result, solar panels emit radiation. Electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS) is the main health hazard associated with solar energy.

 Solar Panels Electromagnetic Radiation

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Note that people are different. People with electromagnetic hypersensitivity get affected by electromagnetic radiation exposure in very small amounts. More so, when the frequency of electromagnetic radiation is high, it leads to health issues.

The health risks get triggered by frequencies found in your computers and mobile phones, among other electronic gadgets. Furthermore, the availability of solar power exacerbates the situation. Individuals exposed to electrohypersensitivity show various symptoms, including anxiety, headaches, cramping, tinnitus, depression, muscle weakness, cognitive decline, and memory issues.

Your human body communicates through electric signals, and communication is disrupted when exposed to non-native electric signals, including EMF. However, you may not realize what is happening because the health risk symptoms are non-particular and common. Hence when inside a solar-powered building or home, you may not notice the health risk.

Solar Panel Radiation from large panels installed in the roofs,

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Note that solar panels develop direct current converted to AC or alternating current to power your home. The solar inverter takes the high current and low voltage signals and converts them to 240 or 120 volts AC. As a result, the conversion develops Dirty Electricity or Microsurge Electrical pollution. The dirty electricity (DE) fields are considered to be biologically harmful and a threat to human health.

2. Dirty Electricity and Solar panels

Dirty Electricity, or DE, is associated with a negative effect on human health, including attention and behavioral issues. Moreover, DE is connected with a cancer diagnosis and can influence neurotransmitter issues and chronic stress. It further affects your blood sugar response negatively.

But, we should note that we are different and sensitive individuals may react powerfully to radiofrequency while others react to electric fields or magnetic fields. After installing flexible solar panels at home, some individuals may experience the EHS symptoms while others may not.

3. Solar Heat Exposure to Electrical and Chemical Components 

Solar Heat Exposure to Electrical and Chemical Components

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Your solar hot water system is installed to use sunlight to heat your bathing water. Other systems may heat the whole house to keep you warm. Nonetheless, the technologies possess a solar collector that processes the solar energy to produce heat. However, the techniques pose a health risk if you are electrically or chemically sensitive, mostly if you use the systems regularly.

4. Silicon Dust from Solar Panels

The basic components of the solar panel possess pure silicon. But did you know silicon dust is dangerous when inhaled for a long time? When exposed to silicon dust, you remain at risk of developing silicosis, a lung disease that results in scar tissue in your lungs. As a result, your lungs may reduce the ability of your lungs to breathe to process oxygen.

5. Solar Panels and Cancer Risk

You may ask if solar panels or residing near a solar farm increase your risk of cancer.

Research has not proven that solar panels can cause cancer. Solar farms and solar panels can minimize the risks of cancer. Remember, energy from solar panels is green energy. Therefore, solar panels may offset the other sources of electricity or energy that result in air pollution leading to lung cancer.

Why Do People Install Solar Panels in Their Homes?

Why do people install solar panels in their homes?

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1. Solar Panels Increase the Value of Your House

The increasing demand and calls for renewable energy make houses using solar panels more marketable than other energy sources. It is estimated that once you install your solar panels, you increase the value of your home by approximately 2.5 percent. However, the value depends on your location.

2. Environment

Solar energy is green energy that is considered clean and safe to use. It is believed that solar energy does not emit harmful chemicals and substances into the environment. Therefore, it does not cause pollution or any harmful environmental impact. As a result, we can say that it is environmentally friendly to our planet and our health.

3. Energy-Saving

In the beginning, most solar panels are costly to install. However, it reduces energy bills, and your monthly bills will reduce with time. But remember, the amount of savings will depend on various factors. The factors are the availability of sunlight in your region. The more sunlight you receive, the more energy power you will use, hence saving on electricity bills.

Moreover, your rate of energy consumption will determine the money you save. The more you consume, the less you will save. Finally, the number of panels installed will determine how much you save. The more panels, the more solar energy; the fewer panels, the less energy you will consume.

Are There Other Disadvantages of Using Solar?

Are There Other Disadvantages of Using Solar?

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Besides the health impacts we mentioned earlier, solar panels are also associated with other disadvantages. Here are the various shortcomings:

1. Upfront Costs

Eventually, solar panels will assist in the reduction of electricity bills, as mentioned above. However, the upfront costs range from 10,000 to 27,000 US dollars. As a result, the high costs may not be affordable to most people.

2. What About the Environment?

Despite solar panels minimizing greenhouse gases, they also result in environmental hazards. First, you must recognize that solar panels are developed from aluminum, glass wires, and plastics. Moreover, the solar panel cells utilized to capture sunlight consist of silicon, a natural element.

Converting Solar Energy to Electricity environment imapact

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However, solar cells are manufactured using no-recyclable materials. Therefore, when you dispose of them in an unfriendly environment way, the non-operating solar cells pose a danger to the environment. Subsequently, some solar cells have toxic compounds, such as cadmium and gallium arsenic.

When producing solar panel systems, dangerous chemicals are used to clean the semiconductor surfaces. The chemicals are trichloroethane, sulfuric acid, hydrogen fluoride, and acetone. The chemicals can pollute the environment and lead to health problems.

3. Climate

Solar panels use direct sunlight to produce solar energy to power our homes. However, in cloudy climates, it may not work effectively. It may take longer to get your return on investment

4. Challenges Selling the House Plus the Solar System in Future

You may install solar panels in your house due to the various advantages discussed here. However, after some years, you may decide to sell the house at a higher value due to solar energy. Unfortunately, the buyers may not be willing to buy the house, plus the solar systems.

The buyers fear the equipment will not save as much electricity bills as stated or may become obsolete. Other purchasers may recognize that you must qualify on credit to own the solar lease payments for the next fifteen to seventeen years.

Should I Install a Solar Panel?

Well, solar panels can add dirty electricity to your dwelling, which has a biological impact. First, however, it’s necessary to mention that the effects of using solar are not the same for everyone. For example, sensitive people react intensely to radiofrequency, while others only react to magnetic or electric fields.

Should I consider installing  a Solar Panel in my home?

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Others will have EHS symptoms, while others will not be affected in any way, even after using solar panels for a long time. That said, there’s no way of telling how an individual will react to these solar radiations before you are exposed to them. Hence, deciding whether you should or shouldn’t install a solar panel is personal.

Nevertheless, if you install the panels, it is necessary to determine whether the company you settle on conducts EHS tests and has been certified. Additionally, before buying your solar panel, please read the product label to decide what environmental safety it has undergone.

Even though the certifications will not guarantee safety, they enable you to know whether the product you pick was manufactured with high standards. You must look for certifications like Occupational Health and Safety Management (OHSAS), Environmental Management Standard, and Quality Management Standard.

The Future of Solar Panels

Development projects and more research are necessary to address and manage the health risks associated with solar panels. However, we all need solar energy technologies free from health risks and negative effects on human health.

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Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.