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How to Protect Solar Panels from Squirrels?

squirrel on solar panel
Image source: highburywildlifegarden.org.uk

Squirrels are destructive and can cut or eat away the solar system wiring. However, you can protect your solar panels from squirrels by using blocking guards such as squirrel baffle and bird netting and spraying or sprinkling the area with pepper.

Remove their dreys, close their ground holes, dispose of foodstuffs in closed bins and keep your compound clean.

Additionally, trim or cut trees bending over your rooftop where solar panels are. The trees and their branches enable squirrels to reach your roof-mounted solar panels.

Please note that squirrels can easily damage your solar panels if they are not well-protected. The damages could be detrimental or mild, depending on the duration of the damage.

Squirrels and Your Solar Energy System

Many people have opted for solar energy because of the many benefits it offers. It is renewable, and the costs are meager, especially in maintenance. Solar energy also brings down monthly electricity costs for your household.

Animals and pests could damage the solar panels. Among the most common animals that may damage your solar system include mice, rodents, squirrels, and even bears.

Probably you are out there asking yourself, “Can squirrels make any damages to my solar panel? How will they even access the solar system? How can I protect my solar panels from squirrels?”

For sure, squirrels are destructive and could bring considerable losses. They may eat away the entire system if you are not careful, which would mean replacing the whole system.

How do Squirrels generally behave?

It is crucial to learn about some of their behavior before looking at how you can prevent these rodents from damaging your solar panels. From this, you will devise the easiest way to handle these animals before they make you pay for huge losses.

1. Squirrels are territorial

Squirrels are very vocal and territorial. They breed two times every year and can be very noisy during the mating season.

That technically means you need to listen to squirrel sounds during their mating seasons in the solar system. You will be shocked at how some squirrels can mark several hectares as their territory.

However, due to the high population in squirrel territories, some tend to mark their territory by tail-waving displays and urine. They will do this to send warning calls to intruders, including humans.

Squirrels live in groups except for a few species, such as grey squirrels. So, in case you spot a squirrel around your solar panels, the chances of finding others are very high.

2. Squirrel Nests

Squirrel nests are made of leaves, twigs, grass, and leaves on the inside. These nests, also known as dreys, can be found on buildings, along branches, and even under your solar panel system.

Some squirrels have several dreys and could use tree stumps and trunks as shelters. It is also worth noting that squirrels make two distinct types of dreys.

A drey that is just for sleeping and an open platform nest while the other type is covered and ideal for raising the young and birthing.

3. Squirrels Feeding

Squirrels primarily feed on fruits, seeds, and nuts. However, if these are not available, they can consume insects, berries, and fungus.

In this context, the squirrel may not feed on your electric cables but might ultimately damage them by chewing them off while gnawing.

4. Squirrels are curious

These rodents are very curious. They will look up things that look intriguing to them before they can even do anything. Even though they are brilliant, you can capture their attention near your solar panel system by placing a unique object just nearby.

Their curiosity will bring them out of their hiding holes, and you can capture them on camera and count how many they are.

5. Some gray squirrels could be all white or black.

If you come across an all-black or all-white squirrel, the chances are high that it is a fox or gray squirrel. The black ones have that color due to melanism, which is dark pigment development in various animals.

The white fur found in the white squirrels is due to albinism, and most of them do not have their distinctive red or pink eyes because of leucism.

So, if you come across these squirrels near your home, look at the condition of your solar panels as it could be their home.

How to Protect Solar Panels from Squirrels?

Many people ask; How do I prevent squirrels from gaining access to my solar panels? It is essential to have several ways to keep away these destructive rodents.

Many squirrels often make their nests under the solar panels since these areas provide shelter and are generally warm. The major problem with these rodents is that they will easily chew your solar system cables.

That might leave the household at significant risk because of these exposed wires. That is why you ought to follow these few simple steps to keep squirrels far away from your solar panel system.

1. Install Squirrel barriers

If your home is in a woody area, investing in squirrel guards such as a squirrel baffle is an excellent option. These guards will protect the technology and expensive cable found under the panels.

Squirrel baffles are installed around the solar panel to block a squirrel from getting under the system. It also prevents the squirrel from accessing the wiring below the system.

However, you need to identify the size of the squirrels around your area to determine what guard size to use. Some squirrels can grow big while others can be tiny; buy a matching guard.

2. Trim Back All Tree Branches Around

Experts advise against trees being close to the house for several reasons, such as the risk of thunder and lightning. Trees should also not be too close because of creating shades to the solar panels.

Squirrels are the other reason why there should not be trees near the house. If there are nearby trees, make sure you trim all the branches outgrowing too close to the roof.

Otherwise, the trees will be the getaway path for the squirrels to access the rooftop and build a drey below the solar panel. Ensure you trim all the trees around the house, not just trees that are near the system.

3. Remove their dreys close their holes

After trimming trees, remove any remaining dreys on the tree. When you notice they are roaming on the ground, close the holes they burrow. They will force them to look for other habitation away from your compound.

4. Spray Pepper or commercial repellant

Sprinkle or spray cayenne pepper, garlic pepper, commercial repellant, or chili pepper around the solar panel installation. The liquid will deter squirrels for some time. However, this may not be a sustainable method since the spray will eventually lose its scent.

5. Keep your compound clean

Squirrels are vegetarians and like to eat nuts, cucumbers, mushrooms, corn, broccoli, squash, oranges, and other types of fruits. Dispose of foodstuffs into closed bins and keep your compound clean to avoid attracting squirrels.

6. Get a dog

A dog can help scare away squirrels. If you own a dog, it will most likely scare away the squirrels, and if it doesn’t, you can train it. A dog will come in handy when you are not around.

Final Thoughts

Squirrels pose a significant risk to your solar system. The primary damage they cause is eating up your cable, among other soft components.

Broken cables will fail to work, while naked wires can cause short-circuiting, which can cause electrical damages such as fire and electrocution. Use the above methods to protect solar panels from squirrels.