Author Topic: Is there any Solar Panel Interference w/Blitzortung?  (Read 1137 times)

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Offline W3DRM

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Is there any Solar Panel Interference w/Blitzortung?
« on: October 31, 2015, 08:17:58 PM »
Nevada Energy and many other local solar system installers are really pushing hard to get folks to sign-up for a solar installation on their roofs. One of my neighbors is thinking about it. He asked me if it would interfere with my ham radio equipment and I told him, probably not. But then, I got to thinking about my Blitzortung system and seem to remember reading somewhere in either this forum or the main BO forum about some issues with solar panels.

Does anyone know definitively whether there is or could be any noise/interference generated by the solar panel system as a whole? And, of course, if so, is there any remedy to the issue?
Don - W3DRM - Minden, Nevada --- Blitzortung ID: 808 --- FlightRadar24 ID: F-KRNO2
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Offline dfroula

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Re: Is there any Solar Panel Interference w/Blitzortung?
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2015, 07:34:22 AM »
I would have to believe that such systems would be potential VLF noise producers. The charge controller may operate in PWM mode, which would be a noise source because of the sharp switching transients. The other source might be from any inverter used to step up the low battery voltage to normal mains levels. The Web is loaded with stories of hams who have experienced such interference.

Much would depend upon the design of the system and how it was run.

Don
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Offline W3DRM

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Re: Is there any Solar Panel Interference w/Blitzortung?
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2017, 11:47:49 AM »
Okay, I know this is an old thread but since I'm the one who started it and this post directly answers the question I had two years ago, I thought I would go ahead and use the thread to establish some reality to interference caused by solar panel and inverter installations.

I had a SolarCity solar system installed on my roof several weeks ago. After waiting for the necessary myriad of inspections, the new meters were installed by NVEnergy on Tuesday and the system was turned-on just before sunset that same day. Yesterday I began to notice that my BO system was going into and out of interference mode. At sunset last night (Wednesday) the interference mode suddenly stopped and normal BO operations were noted. This morning, about 30 minutes after sunrise, I see the BO system going into interference mode.

So, the troubleshooting has begun with reducing the gains on both channels of my RED Amp 1. Immediately, I dropped out of interference mode so this further verifies that my interference issue is something external. I'll watch it tonight to see what happens after sunset and the solar system goes idle again.

On another note, being a ham radio operator, I was concerned about the impact the solar system may have on HF interference on the low bands. Thankfully, I have noticed no increase in noise levels whatsoever on any of the HF bands from 160M through 10M.

My solar system was installed by SolarCity, a subsidiary of Tesla. I have 21, 305W panels and one inverter. My solar equipment is very close to my ham equipment except for the HF antennas which are approx 75 feet away. So, it appears to be pretty shielded from a HF radiation viewpoint.
Don - W3DRM - Minden, Nevada --- Blitzortung ID: 808 --- FlightRadar24 ID: F-KRNO2
Davis Wireless VP2, WD 10.37s72,
StartWatch, VirtualVP, VPLive, , Win10 Pro
--- Logitech HD Pro C920 webcam
--- RIPE Atlas Probe - 32849

Offline vk2him

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Re: Is there any Solar Panel Interference w/Blitzortung?
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2017, 03:47:58 AM »
I have 12 x Enphase micro inverters and they cause no interference to my Blue Blitzortung or my 2m VHF radios. The Enphase micro-inverters talk to the controller via Power Line communications at aprox 117khz which causes no problems for me at all . I did have a lot of VLF noise generated by a solar hot water heater diverter I had in place, this worked much like a switch mode power supply by diverting any excess solar generation into the hot water tank elements. I got very bad interference when it was heating so I've disconnected it and heat the water now using off peak power which costs less than the credit I get by exporting solar.

Offline miraculon

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Re: Is there any Solar Panel Interference w/Blitzortung?
« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2017, 08:41:02 AM »
The April 2016 QST had a feature article "Can Amateur Radio and Solar Power Coexist?". It was a pretty good write-up on EMI troubleshooting for solar charging systems.

Since you said there are no issues on HF, maybe it won't help but it might be worth taking a look at. (dunno if you are an ARRL member)

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Offline Cutty Sark Sailor

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Re: Is there any Solar Panel Interference w/Blitzortung?
« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2017, 09:31:05 AM »
/// the new meters were installed by NVEnergy
Betcha they're smart meters / demand conservation.... 2 neighbors my location installed 'em... had to drop my gains 20-40% both red and blue especially for SW direction. Depends on weather conditions.... worse when they want AC on... these may or may not, depending, drive into interference... but sure generate a heck of a lot of 'near M' ... doesn't bother E field that much.

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Offline W3DRM

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Re: Is there any Solar Panel Interference w/Blitzortung?
« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2017, 01:11:25 PM »
Thanks Greg - I'll dig through my old issues of QST and look for that article. I keep all of them, much to the chagrin of my wife...  :twisted:

Mike - yes, you are correct, the meter from the inverter is a model 560Xz and the one from the NVEnergy mains is a model 530X. However, I have had a different FlexNet meter for about a year that NVEnergy installed when I volunteered to participate in their auto-power control program. It automatically adjusts our thermostat (cooling the summer and heating in the winter) by no more than 4F up or down depending on grid loads. That feature has worked great for us and I since did not have any interference from the original FlexNet meter I suspect the increase in BO noise levels is due to the solar inverter and not the meters themselves.

Now, I can only hope that lightning detection won't be impacted by the lower sensitivity settings of my BO system. Won't know for sure until next summer when we start getting lightning activity.
Don - W3DRM - Minden, Nevada --- Blitzortung ID: 808 --- FlightRadar24 ID: F-KRNO2
Davis Wireless VP2, WD 10.37s72,
StartWatch, VirtualVP, VPLive, , Win10 Pro
--- Logitech HD Pro C920 webcam
--- RIPE Atlas Probe - 32849

 

anything