Caution with solar
Two weeks ago I received an email from Bruce Ferguson asking about solar inverters and human health. I invited him to my home to see the books and research that I have accumulated in the last several months. He declined, saying he had a deadline in a few days, so I sent some online sources. From these he chose a line or two that best supported his unquestioning rally for solar. I see that he has written several local letters to which I am responding.
I too see solar as a wise energy source for our future. This doesn’t mean that we don’t actively proceed with caution. Vermont’s new governor has ceased all development of solar and wind projects while rethinking impacts on health, the environment and tourism. We have a chance to learn from this kind of restraint on unbridled fervor and exercise thoughtful and well planned energy development. In this rethinking, two issues loom large, and are not mutually exclusive: location and safely.
I have submitted to the [Town of] Delaware Planning Board over 5,000 studies where 82% of the research pointed to human and animal negative effects from high frequencies. Ferguson stated that there is no consensus on frequency damage. He is correct that 82% is not all studies, but we can’t deny research results while awaiting consensus.
One of these sources is J. Patrick Reilly, a professor from John’s Hopkins whose text on human impedance confirms that anything over 2 kHz exposure for human organs and tissue changes us. This is not the 60Hz that our toasters or grid operate on.
Solar inverters take the DC energy they create and switch it back and forth at high speeds, creating the AC to run our appliances. In doing this they create high frequency transients (waves with frequency above 60Hz.) An oscilloscope will show this visually. Modern inverters create anywhere from 18 to 100 kHz (that is with a K!), and this is put into the wires and ground. That’s a far cry from the 60Hz toaster. Current wiring and substations are not equipped to accommodate this. Although electrical regulations don’t advise it, rather than have a safer, wired neutral return, companies are using the earth, creating stray current.
Combine these facts (that the inverters put high transients on the wires, and that human resistance is insufficient to block these higher frequencies), it is natural that we need to look at filtering.
When we install our own solar we are in control of this filtering. We need the same sort of control for filtering if we embrace the commercial solar industry. Furthermore, it is fair and imperative that the filtering occurs at the source, where the cost is to those generating it, and before it creates ground current that cannot be filtered once created.
Depending on the switching characteristics of the inverters local solar industry is buying, energy developed can exceed by a thousand or more times what our bodies can block. This is why studies show, especially in youngsters, a mutated cell being formed, and then multiplied 16, 32, 64, 128…, which can result in cancer. Leukemia is commonly referenced in these studies.
What I’m suggesting, is that town boards proceed wisely, regarding location and health. When approving locations (another discussion), boards need to mandate that solar industry properly filter the unwanted waves, that are a byproduct of creating what we do want.
[Angela Page lives on Hospital Road in Callicoon, NY.]
[Editor’s note: “Dirty electricity” and its biological effects appear to be the subject of some controversy. We were unable to either confirm or disconfirm the accuracy of the scientific assertions in this letter. Interested readers may wish to Google “dirty electricity” for more information on both sides of this issue; a World Health Organization article at www.who.int/peh-emf/about/WhatisEMF/en/index4.html gives an introductory discussion.]