Squirrel Damage and Solar Panels

Squirrel Damage and Solar Panels

Finally, after more than two months, our solar panels are being reinstalled today.  We first installed our panels in 2012 and were fortunate to be able to take advantage of the generous federal, state, and utility incentives available at the time.  As  dedicated "early adopters" that was a great benefit for us. But as we have learned, being early adopters is not without its challenges.  Remember we are often the guinea pigs, willing to play the part of field testing products that sometimes require tweaks for better performance.

When we first installed our panels, 27 of them on the roof of our garage with a 6-watt Solaredge control system in our utility room, we left room for solar hot water panels. After much research, we learned that we would be better off with an HVAC hot water heater, so opted for that.  So six years after the original installation we added 6 more panels and two batteries and had to upgrade to a larger Solaredge to manage the batteries. Fortunately, there was still a 30% state incentive to help with this second installation. We chose LG batteries and after an initial installation glitch have been very happy with the extra security and electric savings they offer us.

Our home, though in the city, backs up to a lot of woods, which backs up to the Blue Ridge Parkway and, well, let's just say there is a lot of wildlife around.  We have always had squirrels, and they quickly became our garden nemesis, but we didn't even think twice about them hopping around the roof and our solar panels.  Little did we know that they were soon to become a big problem that we only found out about as we began to receive notices from our monitoring system of shorts and production losses.

After several attempts to locate the problems in our system, the techs found extensive damage to the wires under the panels. The squirrels had set up nesting areas and appeared to have snacked on the wires to the point that the whole system needed to come down and be rewired.  To make sure we did our due diligence for home repairs we called the roofers and realized that though the roof had a "few more years" now was a good time to replace the roof if the panels were coming off! Needless to say, this was an additional expense that we were not expecting this year! 

So here is our takeaway to share with you that we learned as early adopters; GET CRITTER GUARD, BIRD WIRE, PEST BARRIER, (whatever you want to use) installed with your solar panels.  It's not a big expense and may save you the headache and expenses we have faced

So today is a good day!  After more than 3 months and a new roof, our panels will begin being reinstalled!  I can truly say that we have missed the security and costs savings our system has offered us during these cold winter months.  Call your solar installation company and ask them to help you avoid this issue.  I think you'll be happy you did!

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