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bigpaul

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as far away from "civilisation" as i can get.
1.5 million homes have wood stoves alone
4 million homes are heated by Calor gas
6% of the country uses OIL heating
14,000 Scots homes still use coal
Thousands and thousands have Rayburn and Ago wood or oil cookers
more and more heated by stuff like Solar, wind, Ground source etc.

its going to be bad, its going to be hard, but it is survivable.
its still miniscule out of 70 million people but have it your way, I still think when the power goes off millions will not survive, for various reasons.
 

Amish Heart

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Agree with you there, BigPaul. The only ones that will do ok are the government people who already have prepared bunkers for them because of continuity of government, people who are used to living without electricity (like the Amish), and preppers who have back up. Everyone else living in the cities are pretty much doomed. I doubt that they'll have a kumbaya moment and work together to build a green utopia at that point.
 

Mountain Dragon

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Let's see the numbers... Homo Sapiens exists since around 30'000 years. Eletricity is used since the 19th century. If i'm not completly miscalculating humans lived until now longer without electric power than with it. And there are still places one earth where they don't using eletricity becaue they just don't have.
If we get now really an big bang EMP it would be possible to survive for the humanship. Yes, a lot of people will die, some faster, some later. Never now, maybe myself too. But otherwise it would be a kind of darwinism, an natural selection of the strongest. And it would solve a lot of problems too, because i still think we're to many humans on this planet. For those who survive they would have an chance to think about what's really important in life. Yes, the humans would lose a lot of confort, but to be honest a lot of this it dosn't need really.
BTW, i know it's not very popular to tell there are to many people on earth.
 

BillMasen

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Let's see the numbers... Homo Sapiens exists since around 30'000 years. Eletricity is used since the 19th century. If i'm not completly miscalculating humans lived until now longer without electric power than with it. And there are still places one earth where they don't using eletricity becaue they just don't have.
If we get now really an big bang EMP it would be possible to survive for the humanship. Yes, a lot of people will die, some faster, some later. Never now, maybe myself too. But otherwise it would be a kind of darwinism, an natural selection of the strongest. And it would solve a lot of problems too, because i still think we're to many humans on this planet. For those who survive they would have an chance to think about what's really important in life. Yes, the humans would lose a lot of confort, but to be honest a lot of this it dosn't need really.
BTW, i know it's not very popular to tell there are to many people on earth.
Good post, we need to shed a few billion, hopefully lefties and reiligous nut jobs :)
 

Amish Heart

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OK, now you get yourself in trouble. Who does the choosing? Who dies, who lives? Governments created "systems" that rely on the grid, and ensured that most needed these systems to survive. Governments have ensured their survival, because they believe they are more important than you.
And who is a religious nut job? I'm sure most people would think an old menno granny like me is.
 

Mountain Dragon

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I think if it really would happen the choosing would not go by job, education or governments anymore. Because the most of the jobs and governments would be gone in the same moment. Myself i'm affraid with such an big blackout will come anarchy in the same moment. Survive would those who could handle the situations then at the best.
 

BillMasen

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OK, now you get yourself in trouble. Who does the choosing? Who dies, who lives? Governments created "systems" that rely on the grid, and ensured that most needed these systems to survive. Governments have ensured their survival, because they believe they are more important than you.
And who is a religious nut job? I'm sure most people would think an old menno granny like me is.
Natural selection human style, its called WAR and its already looking more likely, the sabre rattling cycle is going off again as A threatens B and C etc. But a fair and equitable way is probably limiting family size, but the zealots wont accept that so its back to war.

YOU ?? Hardly, the mennonite community is probably one of the most kindest, sweetest, less intrusive, tolerant and respectful of all groups, We have mennonites here, I have worked with them and done courses they ran on small scale food growing, They have their faith but they NEVER try to force it or their beliefs on anyone. Unlike many other faiths.
 

bigpaul

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North east in small numbers but there is / was / hoping to be a community of them in north Scotland.
thought that was it, I think there may have been some in London at one time.
some of my ancestors were Huguenots from Europe, I think from Holland, several centuries ago.
 
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Brent S

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The Texas storms reinforced my awareness of how fragile the electric grid is. So finishing my solar installation has moved up on my list. Thats great. Unfortunately if there is a strong solar flare or man made EMP then I’m likely screwed as I really don’t know if solar panels are easily susceptible, but imagine they are. There will always be things that are tough to prep for no matter how much of a budget you have. One thing I want to do soon as well is a solar water heater. At least they aren’t affected by EMP’s, other than needing a way to move the water through the system.
 

BillMasen

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Will an electromagnetic pulse affect PV solar panels?

In the ten years since I first fell in love with PV solar (photovoltaic) technology, I have been answering questions from pioneering adopters and thought I’d heard them all. That was until asked, “whether an electromagnetic pulse will affect my solar panels?
Sunspots produce X-flares.

Sunspots produce X-flares.
In celebration of Power My Home’s 10th birthday, I will answer this most unusual of questions.
Upon further enquiry, I discovered the nature of this question stemmed from worries about the current peak solar activity and more than usual solar flares which are currently being ejected out by the sun.
If one of these super-massive coronal mass ejections (CMEs) were to give the Earth a direct hit, then this would bath the planet and our solar panels with electromagnetic waves, but not pulses.
The question was valid, and so I set out to investigate the answer to this somewhat unusual problem, but there is a difference between CMEs and electromagnetic pulses (EMPs) which is a by-product of a nuclear weapons discharge and other modern-day weaponry if you believe the rumours.
As always with questions like these, there is good news and bad news.
The least likely occurring threat to your solar technology could be a solar mass ejection hit, but very likely will disrupt traditional power lines.
The most substantial known CME to hit the earth happened in 1859 which disrupted the telegraph system of the time. With today’s technology, a CME could cause many times the amount of damage to power lines and infrastructure. Smaller known CMEs have occurred in 1972 and 1989, and the good news is that photovoltaic solar panels weren’t affected at these times.
The cause of the damage comes from the surge in power which the power lines and transformers are exposed to when the unusually high volumes of solar particles charge the network.
If a CME were to hit your solar panels, then the inverter that is load-protected and fused would cause your system to shut down automatically. If your inverter was specified correctly, then in most cases, your inverter will be over-specified for your system anyway. The worst-case scenario will mean your inverter will blow a fuse and a simple fuse change will get your solar panels back to full working order.
If the outside power network is affected by outages such as those experienced by Quebec in Canada in 1989, then your photovoltaic system will automatically shut down to protect itself. Once the power companies engineers have completed their repairs, then it will automatically start-up again.
For owners of solar heating panels such as evacuated tubes then the same is true with your solar controller that’s protected by your home’s internal trip switches. No known issues are known to affect these types of solar heating technologies.
Satellite technology encompassing PV solar technology have been circulating our planet since the 1950s while enduring varying amounts of solar weather and most are still operational today, so this, I think best proves that you have nothing to worry about, but everything to gain when installing this misunderstood technology.
A threat to your solar technology could be an electromagnetic pulse but is very unlikely
And returning to the original question, a small electromagnetic pulse can occur naturally via a lightning strike, but like the lottery jackpot, you have a minimal chance of coming across one. This issue brings us to human-made EMPs caused by modern weaponry.
In the event of such a strike, the affected area will see most forms of modern and delicate electronics damaged. An EMP strike works by reverse magnetising and overheating nearby electrical systems. In other words, your iPhone will be toasted.
Solar panels are vulnerable to the EMP effect, but the real danger to most people comes not from a direct strike, but from the indirect effects which will occur later.
The only way to protect your system is to incase your inverter inside a Faraday cage, but protecting yourself from the indirect effects would be much harder to achieve.
Your photovoltaic panels should be OK, but your definite inverter is at risk. The Faraday cage may help, but even then, fuses will require replacement afterwards.
Even if your solar panels do manage to survive any future EMP attack or solar flare, your other circuit-based technologies around the home will almost certainly not survive.
Threats to our modern age come in many varieties of ways, but EMPs and CMEs are almost certainly at the lower end of the threat spectrum, so I can confidently say that investing in a solar panel installation is still an essential way to future-proof your life.
Over the last decade, I have helped many thousands of people decide on a solar future, and I hear people say on a regular basis that they wished they had “installed sooner” as will others over the next decade who want to become less dependent on increasingly expensive traditional energy.
The sun is always your friend with solar panels on your roof.
It’s not a question if you install them, but more a question of when you install them?
 

BillMasen

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Will solar panels survive a nuclear EMP (and dear God, why do we have to think about this?)
Published October 17, 2017

With what sometimes seems like daily news headlines about the unstable leaders of rogue nations threatening nuclear attacks, people are understandably worried that civilization might end soon. Some other people have opined that civilization hasn’t felt very civilized lately, and maybe it might be time for it to either improve drastically or get the ending over with, already.
Whatever your take on our impending doom, fear of the indirect effects of a nuclear attack has led more than one of our readers to ask whether and how solar panels might survive. Good question!
First, let’s get some context and explanation out of the way:
The thing to be worried about here is what’s known as a nuclear electromagnetic pulse, or EMP for short. If a nuclear weapon of sufficient size is detonated high in the atmosphere, an EMP can disrupt everything that uses electronic circuitry, potentially causing irreversible damage to electronics in cars, airplanes, the U.S. electric grid, and yes, your home solar system. Of course, if a nuke is detonated a little closer to the ground, the EMP will be the least of your worries.
How does an EMP work?
Basically, an nuclear EMP disrupts the earth’s magnetic field to such a great degree that it causes electrons to go spiraling out all over the place, spontaneously zapping electronics in its path. There are three phases to an nuclear EMP, E1, E2, and E3.
E1 is the most damaging and fast-acting pulse, a huge burst of gamma radiation that saturates every meter of air within its considerable range with up to 50,000 volts of electricity within a few nanoseconds of the nuclear explosion.
Here’s a look at how much land area a high-altitude nuclear EMP can cover, compared to, oh say the United States of America:
HEMP 40k over the USA

oh no, we are doomed
The whole of that map will experience E1 almost simultaneously with the blast.
E2 is more like lightning, which is good, because our power grid has lots of built-in protections against lightning, but bad because it follows E1, which will pretty much destroy everything that would’ve been protected from E2.
E3 is a slower-moving pulse that can produce geo-magnetically induced currents in long electrical conductors. In plain English, that means that things like telephone wires and power lines will slowly build a great charge, which can then zap electronics along the way. Things like power transformers and grid substation equipment would likely be zapped back into the dark ages, and with it all our precious electrical power.
So then what happens?
Well, the U.S. Government has commissioned a few studies of the effects and likely aftereffects of an EMP attack deployed against the country. The 2004 report contained this little nugget about the effects of E1, 2, and 3 pulses: “The sequence of E1, E2, and then E3 components of EMP is important because each can cause damage, and the later damage can be increased as a result of the earlier damage.”
Fixing the problems caused by an EMP of sufficient magnitude would take weeks to months of replacing critical electric system components, and slowly re-stabilizing the electric grid. If you lose power after an EMP event, you’d better be ready for half a year or more of cold soup, and roving bands of ravenous former neighbors on the hunt for soup like yours.

No soup here. Let’s try Jim’s house.
Ulp. Maybe those doomsday preppers have it right. Oh, and just in case you’re not worried enough to stay awake at night, there’s always coronal mass ejections to make you need that melatonin.
Wait, what are Coronal Mass Ejections?
Called “CME” for short, a coronal mass ejection is a huge solar flare that sends waves of charged particles through space in a direction that corresponds to the place on the sun from which the CME arose.
These things actually happen pretty often; from between once per week to a few times a day depending on solar activity. We usually don’t think too much about them, because they rarely affect us, but when they’re very big, and pointed in just the right direction…

Well that’s not so bad
But when they’re very, very big, and pointed in just the right direction… it’s a lot like the E3 component of a nuclear EMP, and can shut down the grid in much the same way.
In fact, when the first modern recorded CME struck in 1859, it zapped huge portions of the telegraph system, aka “the Victorian Internet”

“Oh fiddlesticks, my chatrooms are all down.”
We haven’t had one that big hit Earth since, but in 2012, there was a very near miss that could have cost the U.S. $2 trillion and knocked out huge transformers that would take years to repair.
But there’s only a 12% chance that a CME like this will hit the Earth in the next 10 years, so no worries mate, hah ah aha hahahaaaa oh fudge.
Anyway, if an EMP brings the grid down, you might have worse problems
What’s worse than living zombies looting the houses of their weaker former friends? Thermonuclear war.
In order to cause a nuclear EMP of sufficient magnitude to take down much of the U.S. energy grid, it would take, at minimum: intercontinental ballistic missiles, nuclear warheads, and a complete disregard for the consequences. If a country with weaponry sufficient to cause such an blast causes one, we’d be in thermonuclear war, and protecting our stockpile of food (not to mention having a way to charge our smartphones) would probably be the least of our worries.

The most of our worries
Now of course, some folks might rightly point out that the recent rhetoric and evidence of ICBM tests from North Korea represent exactly the kind doomsday scenario we’re describing here and oh lordy I’m getting panicky again.
Suffice it to say, you’ll “hypothetically” want to know what might happen to solar panels and the associated equipment in the “hypothetical” case of an attack. So we’ll assume the EMP we described above happens sometime down the road, and go from there:
So really… will solar panels survive an EMP?
In short? Probably not so well if they’re plugged in and working at the time of the pulse. Sorry to be a downer.
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.
That’s because wires act like antennas that gather the pulses’ signals, as in the case of the E3 component of the EMP. Any panels attached to the grid will almost certainly be affected by a nuclear EMP. The Pulse might not completely zap them, but it’s likely their functionality will be greatly reduced. Even if the panels are hooked up in an off-grid solar configuration; if they’re connected at the time of the explosion, they’ll likely suffer serious damage.
On top of that, the sensitive electronics inside a solar inverter and charge controller would likely be fried by E1 before the panels go, too. There’s a chance that means the panels themselves could survive the blast, but then you’d have to replace the rest of your components.
How to save your solar stuff with EMP protection
Like we said above, wires act like antennas for the panels, and the longer the wires get, the higher the potential for damage. But if panels aren’t connected to anything, they probably won’t sustain any damage at all. It’s also likely that solar inverters, charge controllers, computers, smartphones, and more won’t be affected if they aren’t turned on and plugged in.
But to be especially sure, you need to employ some method of EMP protection, like…
Build a Faraday cage
A Faraday cage is a simple device that protects sensitive electronics from electromagnetic (EM) radiation. It’s basically just a box with a non-conductive frame wrapped in metal mesh, which conducts electricity and EM radiation and protects the stuff inside from getting zapped.

Electronics inside a Faraday cage should be able to survive the effects of a nuclear EMP, especially if they’re stored… y’know, down in your bunker with all your other supplies for the aftertimes. You might say electronics stored in a Faraday cage are the Army Rations of the gadget world.
Get an EMP-hardened solar inverter
You could try mounting a Faraday cage around your solar equipment, but again, if it’s plugged in, that’s not going to stop an E3 pulse from frying your circuit boards. There is, however, a company that has done the work for you.
Sol-Ark solar inverters are EMP-hardened, meaning they’re specifically designed to withstand all the disruptions of an EMP, whether it comes from a nuclear weapon or the sun. They even make it easy to plug batteries in to get you through the day after the grid goes down.
Check out Sol-Ark Inverters/Charge Controllers here, and have fun watching this video of them zapping various objects with EMP:
 

BillMasen

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So I get the impression (only that) if we know a CME is coming ( we can get up to 3 days notice) or a risk of a nuke is likely to trigger and EMP if the panels are not connected to the system (or each other) they should / may/ could be OK. But the control box is likely to be toasted.

So PERHAPS keeping a spare control panel in an insulated metal box MAY help you start your solar generating again, and / or keeping some of your panels seperated and stored as a back up MAY help.
 

BillMasen

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FYI I keep my little portable systems (5VDC and 12VDC) in an aluminium storage case lined with foil and insulated with foam.

BTW I dont know if it helps or even if its still accurate but in one of my very old note books from the 80s when we did CNBC training in the army, theres a note that says only electrical componants in COMPLETED circuits was vulnerable to an EMP, so if like alternators, dynamos, generators etc were stored dismanted and separate they may/ could / should not be affected. Remember this was written BEFORE computers were everywhere etc etc. So if you know a CMP is likely then dismantly your array SHOULD help protect it and of course Faraday caging the bits would help massively.
 
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