Squirrel Nest Under Solar Panels: What to do

Having local wildlife such as squirrels and birds near your home has its pros and cons. If you have solar panels on your roof or somewhere on your property, you may at some point find that squirrels are nesting underneath.

Here are some of the key points I will cover in this all-too-common homeowner problem:

  • Why squirrels often build their nests under solar arrays
  • Key challenges with having squirrels living under your solar panels
  • Several ways for you to address the squirrel nest challenge

If you are wondering how to prevent or handle a squirrel nest under your home solar panel, I have some tried and tested solutions for you right here!

Squirrel on a Roof

Why Do Squirrels Nest Under Solar Panels?

The underside of your solar panels is an attractive place for a squirrel looking for a place to raise her young.

It is hidden and removed from a lot of activity. For a nursing squirrel, this means safety for its family from potential predators.

When a squirrel builds its nest under some solar panels, it will even incorporate the wiring between the panels and inverter in the nest structure.

I am going to detail why you should be wary of this.

Challenges with Squirrel Nests

While many homeowners believe that squirrels are cute animals that are nice to have around, there are some unique challenges that a squirrel nest under your solar panels can bring. These are damage to your wires and a fire hazard.

Squirrels love to gnaw at various items with their teeth. This is just what they instinctively do even without any food reward on the other side.

Squirrels also need to keep their teeth in good condition, and this gnawing action allows them to do just that. The gnawing action allows these animals to control how long their teeth are. It also keeps them sharp.

Wires

The solar wiring can often resemble the twigs and other natural materials that squirrels love to bite on. They can gnaw at the plastic covering of the wiring in your solar system, which damages them.

You are going to have to fork out a considerable amount to replace the wires. In the interim, you may experience disruptions in your power supply, which can affect your overall quality of life.

Hazard

A squirrel nest or drey is a fire hazard. It is typically made from twigs woven together. This structure is then lined with other combustible materials such as leaves, grass, moss, fir, and even plastic bag material.

These dry materials can easily catch on fire under the right conditions.

One of the most challenging facts about having squirrels and other animals nesting under your solar panel is that you might not know that they are there for a while.

Unless you see squirrels around your panel area or notice a problem with your solar system, there could be little indication that there is a squirrel nest under your energy generation system.

As you might guess, the longer you have a squirrel nest near your solar wiring, the greater the potential damage these rodents could cause.

What Can You Do About Squirrel Nests Under Your Solar PV?

There is more than one way to protect your property and safeguard your energy supply from squirrels. Depending on what stage you are at with resident critters, you may need to look into prevention, inspection, and removal.

Right now, it should be apparent that squirrels can cause more harm than good when you leave them to nest under your solar panels.

So, don’t let their cuteness fool you—it might be time to deal with the potential squirrel problem.

Prevention

I’m sure you have heard the adage, “Prevention is better than cure.” You should proof the solar system to keep squirrels out.

One of the ways you can do this is by creating an enclosure using some fencing or mesh wiring.

Another name for this solution is a critter guard, and it is one of the most effective ways to keep squirrels and pigeons away from your solar array.

It is essential that the spacing of the fence is too small for even the smallest squirrels to pass through.

This is an upfront financial investment, but it is certainly cheaper than paying for the replacement of your solar wiring if this should be damaged by squirrels.

The structure is made of wire mesh and can keep squirrels, pigeons, and other animals from accessing the underside of your solar panels.

When your solar system is being installed, this is an excellent time to make sure that it is squirrel-proof.

You can have your installers add a critter guard at that point. Another important prevention method is ensuring that the connections are tight as this leaves little room for squirrels to access the wiring.

Inspection

As I touched on earlier, it can be difficult to detect that squirrels have taken residence under your solar system until the damage is already done.

The best way to maintain your solar wiring and ensure it is safe from critters and other pests in the long term is by arranging for regular inspections.

During a solar system inspection, someone will need to climb onto the roof to take a look at the solar panels.

The person performing the visual inspection can then check if there are any traces of squirrels nesting or any of their characteristic gnawing activity on the solar wiring.

Inspection allows you to nip any squirrel issues in the bud and minimize the damage to your wiring. It is a good maintenance practice to incorporate whether or not you suspect that there might be squirrels on your roof.

Removal

If you already have a squirrel nesting under your solar panels, you should do all you can to remove it and stop this from happening again.

You’ll need to clean out the squirrel dreys and all the nesting materials from under the solar panels. Thereafter, it would be ideal to look into proofing your solar panels and creating an inspection plan for the future.

It might be a good idea to enlist some help from animal experts if you face any challenges removing the squirrels on your property.

You might also want to have your solar wiring looked at to ensure that there they are still in good working condition.

Squirrels In Your Neighborhood

Squirrels in your neighborhood will more than likely be on the lookout for a perfect nesting spot. If you have solar installed on your roof, you might become one of many other homeowners who find a squirrel nest under their solar panels.

As tempting as it might be to do nothing about these furry residents, I’d advise you to deal with this problem as soon as possible to prevent damage to your solar wiring and reduce the chances of a fire on your roof.

Sources

Solar Panel Maintenance FAQ

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