Commercial solar panels in Washington DC

Are solar inverters harmful for our health?

No, inverters are not harmful for our health and adhere to the FCC rules Part 15 Class B, which regulate what electronic devices emit, called “radiating” energy.

1. Overview of the issue

Inverters convert DC power from solar panels to AC power. The AC Power can be used by your house or pushed back on the electric grid.

Because inverters are electronic devices, they produce radio frequency (RF) energy.

2. Are there rules in place to regulate this?

Inverters are like many other devices we’re surrounded with and that we use daily. This is how the FCC puts it:

Digital technology is used virtually everywhere. Coffee pots, wrist watches, automobiles, cash registers, personal computers, telephones, and thousands of other types of common electronic equipment rely on digital technology to function. At any time of the day, most people are within a few meters of consumer products that use digital technology.

The FCC (Federal Communication Commission) has rules in place that regulate electronic devices. Inverters often comply with the FCC rules Part 15 Class B. The technical standards for Class B equipment are stricter than those for Class A as Class B equipment can be used anywhere in a residential setting.

3. What biological effects can be caused by radio-frequency energy?

Biological effects can result from exposure to RF energy. Biological effects that result from heating of tissue by RF energy are often referred to as “thermal” effects. It has been known for many years that exposure to very high levels of RF radiation can be harmful due to the ability of RF energy to heat biological tissue rapidly.

This is the principle by which microwave ovens cook food. Exposure to very high RF intensities can result in heating of biological tissue and an increase in body temperature. Tissue damage in humans could occur during exposure to high RF levels because of the body’s inability to cope with or dissipate the excessive heat that could be generated. Two areas of the body, the eyes and the testes, are particularly vulnerable to RF heating because of the relative lack of available blood flow to dissipate the excess heat load.

At relatively low levels of exposure to RF radiation, i.e., levels lower than those that would produce significant heating, the evidence for production of harmful biological effects is ambiguous and unproven. Such effects, if they exist, have been referred to as “non-thermal” effects. A number of reports have appeared in the scientific literature describing the observation of a range of biological effects resulting from exposure to low levels of RF energy.

However…

However, in most cases, further experimental research has been unable to reproduce these effects. Furthermore, since much of the research is not done on whole bodies, there has been no determination that such effects constitute a human health hazard. It is generally agreed that further research is needed to determine the generality of such effects and their possible relevance, if any, to human health.

In the meantime, standards-setting organizations and government agencies continue to monitor the latest experimental findings to confirm their validity and determine whether changes in safety limits are needed to protect human health.

Source: FCC

4. Do inverters comply with FCC rule 15 Part B

Yes, inverter manufacturers generally adhere to the FCC rule.

Here are a few datasheets of common inverters we install:

Screenshots of these datasheets below mention they comply with the FCC rules Part 15 Class B.

SolarEdge:

SMA:

Enphase:

5. Conclusion:

There is no health issue with inverters. Inverters comply with the FCC rules Part 15 Class B to limit the radio frequency power emitted by electronic devices. By limiting the power emitted, it can’t cause a health issue, to the best of our knowledge.

The same is true for any other device you own, like a smartphone, watch, TV, etc.

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