Stopping Squirrels From Chewing Up Your Solar Panel Wiring

Ashleigh AngellOctober 26, 201827980

Stopping Squirrels From Chewing Up Your Solar Panel Wiring

Compared to many of the problems that rooftop solar owners face – including utility companies trying to take away net metering or applying exorbitant fixed charges – the prospect of squirrels (and other critters) nesting under your solar array might seem a minor concern. But it can’t be denied that the rodents can do considerable damage with their teeth to the wiring that connects solar panels. The problem is compounded by the fact that the presence of the animals is often difficult to detect and even more difficult to eliminate. This is just one of many reasons why getting an annual inspection from your solar company is so important. It will help you catch these problems quickly before too much damage is done. Let’s look at why squirrels love your solar panel wiring and what you can do to stop it.

Why do Squirrels Like Chewing on Solar Panel Wiring?

Why do the critters like to gnaw at solar wiring, anyway? Well, usually, it’s a force of habit that drives them to chew on it. It looks like twigs, worms, and leaves, which are all things they enjoy chewing on. And it has a thick insulation, which feels nice in their mouths, much like how we like to chew on gum. They also like chewing and clawing on wiring for the same reason your cat likes to scratch up your furniture. They need to keep their teeth and claws groomed so they don’t have to deal with the uncomfortable annoyance of having teeth and claws that are too long.

Make Sure You Get Your Solar Panels Inspected Periodically

Prevention is the best way to avoid serious damage. And you can do that by ensuring you have both personal inspections and professional inspections on your unit. The first step is, of course, visually inspecting your solar panels. If you see any squirrels up there, it’s a good idea to call your solar company right away to have them get a better look. Remember, safety first! Don’t climb up on your own!

The next step is having annual inspections on your solar system, that way your solar company can always check for anything in need of repairs, including wiring destroyed by squirrels.

And the final step is monitoring your system’s performance. If it suddenly starts to drop dramatically, call up your solar company, as that could be caused by squirrels destroying your wiring and rendering the system useless.

Also, don’t worry about it too much. Though it does happen sometimes, (hence why we’re writing this blog) it’s a very rare problem and definitely not something you should be losing sleep over.

How You Can Prevent Squirrel Mayhem in the Installation Stage

Another way you can use the prevention technique before squirrels even arrive is by having your installers ensure your wires are tightly connected together. Having wires that are connected tightly to your modules and rails will not delay your installation process, but it will ensure it’s much harder for squirrels to cause any serious damage.

Another way to prevent the squirrel problem from manifesting itself in the first place is to place screening around the modules, though do this with caution because this may itself cause other problems, such as fallen leaves getting caught in the metal.

If you have not done the recommended preventive measures and you find a nest under your solar array, you should definitely try to remove it.

Removing a Squirrel Nest

Killing the squirrels will not remove the problem. If they’ve already decided your panels are a good nesting spot, they’ll just keep coming back. Instead, hire a professional to move any nests without killing the animals, and perhaps look out for more in your area. Relocating is always better than killing, especially when the goal of going solar is saving our planet.

Want to learn more about common solar panel problems and how to fix them? Check out the HahaSmart blog for tons of resources!

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