Solar panels may cause radio frequency interference in aircraft radio, rescue service communication channels, radio broadcasts and SIGINT

Assigned by the government, the Swedish Armed Forces and the National Electrical Safety Board have launched a study of what type of electrical facilities may cause electromagnetic interference, and to what degree this may affect the total defence activities.

The Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV), the Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI) and the National Electrical Safety Board have measured and analysed solar panel facilities, electric roads systems (ERS) and cordless charging of electric vehicles. The study concludes that it is confirmed that these types of electric facilities and systems may cause interference in military radio frequencies, aircraft radio, rescue services’ communication systems, mobile phone networks, SIGINT, as well as local and national TV and radio broadcasts.

This type of electromagnetic interference may have significant adverse effects on the activities and facilities of the total defence. Also, they may have adverse effects on civilian airports, rescue services and society in general. Other Swedish public agencies have been consulted and in their replies, they concur with the assessment made by the study.

Due to the risk of harmful interference, it is crucial that the Swedish Armed Forces is able to give an opinion before facilities are erected, to avoid causing any retrospective damages for individual land owners.

The study also shows that with more in-depth expertise, it is possible to build solar photovoltaic facilities with a minimal risk of interference.

“I am impressed by the solar photovoltaic facility that the Swedish Fortifications Agency has built in the town of Skövde. It has almost non-measureable levels of interference“, says Anders Broberg, head of the study at the Swedish Armed Forces Headquarters.