Your photovoltaic panel array is designed to withstand heavy winds, snow, hail and other extreme weather. But what about squirrels?
Can your solar system stand up to these furry little critters?
The squirrels climbing around in your trees may seem harmless enough. They can, however, wreak havoc on your solar panel system.
Have you ever seen squirrels scampering around on your rooftop, or perhaps darting under your photovoltaic panels?
If so, they may be building nests.
Solar installers often get calls from customers whose photovoltaic panels are not working properly. When the installers come out for a service call, they discover nesting material under the modules.
Squirrels also are notorious for chewing through electrical wiring around homes and rooftops. This can be quite destructive to your solar panels and other components, and can result in expensive repairs.
Worse, it could create a fire hazard.
If you are still in the planning stages of installing a photovoltaic array, installation strategies can help to avoid squirrel damage.
Your solar installer can keep most of the wiring snug against the racking system. Cable trays or other cable protection can be used around module junction boxes. Critters usually target sagging wires, so proper wire management can decrease the likelihood that yours become squirrel chow.
A perimeter screen also can be installed as a part of your solar installation. Attached to both the racking and your rooftop, a heavy, rigid screen can block squirrels from building their nests under your photovoltaic panels.
Do you already have a solar panel system installed on your rooftop? You can still install a perimeter screen. Contact a local roofing contractor to learn more about your options.
Or you can attack the problem at its source, so to speak.
Take a look at the trees in your yard. Do any of their branches hang over or near your roof? Squirrels can leap up to 10 feet. If you have overhanging branches, consider trimming them back to keep the critters from jumping onto your roof.
If that doesn’t solve the problem, contact a company in your area that specializes in wildlife removal or pest control.
Taking extra measures to prevent squirrels from damaging your photovoltaic panel system will help you avoid costly repairs in the future.
The solar energy experts at Intermountain Wind & Solar consider a variety of factors when designing residential and commercial systems. If you’re aware of problems with squirrels or other damaging pests in your area, just let us know and we will recommend the best solution.
Serving customers in Nevada, Wyoming, Idaho, Utah and Colorado, Intermountain Wind & Solar is the region’s leading expert in the design and installation of photovoltaic panel systems.
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