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Solar panels can unintentionally become the perfect nesting sites for rodents such as birds, and squirrels. It’s relatively dry and protects them from predators. That all sounds harmless and sweet. The birds and squirrels are so cute!

Two squirrels perch on the roof next to the solar panels they might be living under.

While not super common, rodent damage is an expensive problem that many owners of solar arrays may have to face if they aren’t proactive about protecting them. Squirrels chew through the cables under solar panels. When they eat away at the wires, they can cause short circuits which not only damage the panels, but they also create fire hazards. One of our valued customers recently called us for help because her roof was leaking, and the roofing professional was sure it was because of her solar panels. Squirrels found their way underneath the panels and made themselves cozy. While at it, they chewed the wires and didn’t stop there. These squirrels dug and chewed through the roof shingles maybe to try to get inside the house. Who can blame them, right? If you’re another rodent, anyway.

Needless to say, that part of the roof and the solar panels were in bad shape. It was a costly fix for the homeowner. It was a sad visit for our service team to see our customers going through something so stressful that could have been avoided if they only knew it was possible.

While solar panels are known to be mostly low maintenance, you should execute some precautionary measures to ensure your peace of mind.

  1. Perform proper tree management. You must trim away long branches that hang over and next to your roof or hire a professional to do it. Also, be aware of bushes around your home, as they are used by rodents as a stepping stone to get into your home.
  2. Whenever you’re clearing off your solar panels, whether in the winter from snow or just spraying them in the summer, remember to look under them too.
  3. In general, make it a habit to check your panels every so often. Look for piles of debris underneath them. That may indicate that something has taken up residence there.
  4. If it isn’t possible to cut back the path of travel, invest in a Critter Guard, which blocks rodents from getting under there in the first place.

Make sure you know your solar system well. Include it in the routine maintenance of your home. Don’t be caught off guard which will leave you scrambling to fix the damage at the last minute. Apply this information, be aware, and enjoy your energy-efficient power source!

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