One of the common questions people tend to ask when getting solar panels is whether they can interfere with WiFi. While they can, it is rare.
To learn more, continue reading below to see if solar panels might mess with your signals.
Can Solar Panels Interfere With WiFi Signals?
While it isn’t very common, and you don’t usually notice it when it does happen, solar panels can interfere with some types of WiFi. It isn’t much more than how a metal roof or thick tree branches would interfere with the signal and usually isn’t much of a problem.
However, it isn’t just solar panels you need to be aware of. Other parts of your solar system can also mess with WiFi signals.
How Do Solar Panels Interfere With WiFi?
The most common cause of WiFi interference is because of physical properties. What this means is that solar panels on the roof can add enough insulation to make it difficult for your WiFi router to receive a signal.
This is most common with wireless types of WiFi like DSL and wireless broadband. (1) Since these types of WiFi services need signal from outside sources, it is possible that solar panels can impact it.
However, for most households, broadband or fiber optics are more common ways to get your WiFi. In these cases, solar panels will likely not have a lot of impact.
It isn’t just solar panels either. Anything solid can block the signal. If you have a lot of walls between you and the router, then your signal can be cut short or become spotty. If you have a lot of trees overhanging your home, they can impact whether or not you get wireless broadband or DSL as well.
However, it isn’t just physical properties that can cause solar systems to interfere with WiFi. Electromagnetic interference, known as EMI, can also interfere with WiFi signals. While solar panels don’t emit electromagnetic interference, other parts of the solar system do.
Specifically, inverters release EMI. If you have microinverters attached to your solar panels, it may seem like the solar panels are causing interference. The currents that the inverter lets off when changing DC power to AC power release a noise similar to broadband, which can interfere with the signal.
What Else Can Solar Panels Interfere With?
In addition to WiFi, solar panels can potentially mess with your cable TV reception and your cell signal. (2) This is because they work in similar ways as WiFi signals, needing a signal from satellites above that solar panels can block due to their thickness.
Inverters also have the potential to mess with cable and cell signals the same way they can interfere with WiFi, due to releasing similar noises when converting currents. (3)
- What Are the Different Types of Wireless Networks? (n.d.-b). CDW. https://www.cdw.com/content/cdw/en/articles/datacenter/what-are-the-different-types-of-wireless-networks.html
- Layton, J. (2023, March 8). How TV Phones Work. HowStuffWorks. https://electronics.howstuffworks.com/tv-phone.htm
- Tran, V. (2023, January 26). Can TV Signals Be Blocked? Pointer Clicker. https://pointerclicker.com/can-tv-signals-be-blocked/