Tsunami waves pose a threat to the coastal zone, and numerous studies have been carried out in the past to understand them. Solitary waves have been extensively used in research because they approximate certain important characteristics of tsunami waves. The present study focusses on the interaction and run-up of solitary waves on coastal protection structures in the form of thin, rigid vertical porous barriers with special attention given to the degree of energy dissipation. To understand the physics of energy dissipation, solitary wave interaction with a porous barrier has been studied from the viewpoint of energy balance. Based on this, a relationship for the wave energy dissipation has been developed. The experimental data show that the plate porosity that gives the optimal energy dissipation lies within the 10–20% range. From the experiments, the phase shift that the solitary wave undergoes upon interaction with the porous barrier models has also been recorded. In addition, a formula is proposed for maximum wave run-up on the porous barrier, which should be useful in the planning, design, construction, and maintenance of coastal protection structures.