Solar technology has come a long way and is still constantly evolving. But over the years, we’re slowly starting to see more and more spaces adopting solar panels.
Because it’s still relatively new, there are things we do not yet fully understand about solar technology. For instance, many think that it interrupts already existing signals in our homes.
And I assume that’s why you’re here as well. You probably want to know if solar panels are the culprit behind your dodgy TV signal.
Here’s the thing: solar panels alone do not emit frequencies that interrupt signals, but solar inverters do.
The purpose of solar inverters is to turn solar energy into electric power. Without inverters, your solar panels won’t be able to provide electricity.
- How Solar Panels Work
- Solar Inverters
- Solar Inverters and Electromagnetic Interference (EMI)
- Other Devices That Can Interfere With TV Signal
- Ways to Boost TV Signal
- Frequently Asked Question
- Wrap Up
How Solar Panels Work
A solar panel is a tool for harnessing solar energy. Each panel contains rows of solar cells that are made of crystalline silicon or amorphous silicon.
Solar cells are also called photovoltaic cells (PV cells) because they collect photons (light) and turn them into electricity (‘voltaic’ is an homage to Alessandro Volta, who pioneered electricity).
When sunlight hits these panels, the electrons inside the solar cells start to move around, which then creates a direct current.
However, this is where things become tricky: the majority of home appliances use alternating current (AC). Direct current is produced by solar panels (DC).
In order to use solar energy collected by solar panels, you need to convert direct current into alternating current. This is where solar inverters come in.
Solar inverters turn direct current from the solar panels into alternating current. So, in other words, it is not solar energy that actually powers our appliances; it’s the solar inverters that turn solar energy into usable electricity.
With that said, solar inverters play a crucial role in the solar energy structure. Solar panels are able to complete their function because of solar inverters.
Apart from converting DC into AC, solar inverters also maximize power output by regulating the solar cells in each panel.
Solar Inverters and Electromagnetic Interference (EMI)
It’s time we connect the dots. So what might solar inverters have to do with bad TV signals?
Solar inverters produce electromagnetic interference due to the rapid switching of DC to AC. This may be the cause of the sporadic weak TV signal. One minute you can have excellent TV reception, and next thing you know, some channels would mysteriously act up.
But this doesn’t mean solar inverters are always to blame for bad TV signals.
In fact, inverters typically only produce insignificant amounts of EMI, which can be reduced further through grounding, filtering, or shielding. Thanks to these methods, problematic inverters are now a thing of the past.
One thing to note: low-cost inverters have less filtering and fewer EMI reduction systems built-in, so it’s best to invest in a quality-made solar inverter.
Other Devices That Can Interfere With TV Signal
Tons of everyday electronic devices also naturally emit amounts of EMI.
Your smartphones, microwaves, baby monitors, Wi-Fi, and power generators all have the potential to cause signal interference. And sometimes, they’re even more likely to jumble up your TV signal than a solar inverter.
But electrical devices aren’t the only possible culprit for weak TV signals. Natural occurrences like lightning and snow storms can mess up frequencies traveling in the atmosphere.
Ways to Boost TV Signal
To get a better TV viewing experience, here are a few tips and tricks for clearer picture quality:
Install a Signal Booster
Signal boosters or amplifiers can help improve signal reception. They work best if you’re located in a poor coverage area.
But just because you have bad TV reception does not mean you should go and immediately buy a signal booster. It’s wise to rule out other potential causes of poor TV reception before making an investment in one.
Some common causes for weak reception include:
- Physical obstructions (tall trees, buildings, etc.)
- Worn cables
- Bad antenna placement
Switch up Your Antenna Placement
Antenna placement is the number one factor you should look into if you want to maximize TV reception.
Structures that can obstruct your antenna’s line of sight may result in poor signal, which is why it’s good to move your antenna to an elevated place in order to get the highest quality TV reception.
How the antenna is pointed at the broadcast tower is another thing to think about. Most of us see the antenna as having an arrow-like form. When you look at it from the top, the broadest part seems to be telling you where to point the antenna.
But that is not the case. To get the best reception, the narrowest part of the antenna should be pointing towards the broadcast tower.
Find out more about where to place your aerial antenna here.
Invest in an LTE Filter
Cellular towers can sometimes bleed radiation that’s just enough to mess up your TV’s signal. The solution? Installing LTE filters.
LTE filters are designed to tune out mobile signal frequencies. Some higher-quality TV antennas already come with a built-in LTE filter.
If your antenna doesn’t have one built-in and you’re planning to purchase one , you must first determine the primary reason for your poor TV signal.
Fix Your Cables
Outdated, frayed, or unprotected cables are also a culprit for weak TV reception. Swap out your old coaxial cables for fiber-optic ones.
Between the two, fiber optic cables are more reliable since coaxials are more prone to outages during poor weather.
Since fiber cables turn electrical signals into light, this allows them to transmit signals faster than coaxial cables. The main drawback is that they break easily because they are made of glass, which is just slightly thicker than a human hair.
Switch to an Outdoor Antenna
Outdoor antennas undoubtedly give you a stronger TV signal simply because they’re more exposed and more sensitive to receiving frequencies. But choosing between an indoor or outdoor antenna is purely situational.
Typically, you can make do with an indoor antenna if you’re going for strong local channels that are easily reachable even with weak signals. But if you’re aiming for harder-to-reach ones, it may be time to explore outdoor antenna options.
Frequently Asked Question
Do Solar Panels Interfere with WiFi?
Yes, solar panels can obstruct WiFi signals from the broadcast tower to your device. Though solar panels do not produce electromagnetic radiation that can interfere with WiFi, they can act as a physical barrier that prevents signals from passing through.
Another cause of WiFi interference is the solar panel inverter. This device converts direct current (DC) collected from the sun to alternating current (AC) that can be used to power electronic devices. This process produces broadband noise that disrupts signals in your home, like WiFi.
While it’s possible for solar inverters to disrupt TV signals, there are filtering methods that can help protect your TV from unwanted frequencies.
Inverters aren’t the only culprit for weak TV signals—tons of natural and man-made causes can be bumped up high on the list, too!
So the next time you experience TV signal issues, keep in mind that solar technology is only part of a long list of possible causes.
Vance is a dad, former software engineer, and tech lover. Knowing how a computer works becomes handy when he builds Pointer Clicker. His quest is to make tech more accessible for non-techie users. When not working with his team, you can find him caring for his son and gaming.