solar panels

Do You Need A Critter Guard for Solar Panels? Importance of Critter Guard

6 minutes, 27 seconds Read

Living near your solar panels or on your roof, birds, squirrels, and other rodents cause more soiling and dirt buildup. When a critter guard is installed around the perimeter of your system, all kinds of animals find it less appealing as a place to live. Is it necessary to install a critter guard for solar panels?

A physical barrier called a solar critter guard wraps around your solar array to keep out these unwanted visitors and stop extra leaves from getting tangled under your panels. 

We’ll explain why solar critter guards can be useful to you, whether or not you need them with every solar installation, and where to buy them in this blog.

What Is A Critter Guard? 

After being persuaded that you require a critter guard, you may now be curious as to what they are and how they operate. There are a few inches between your solar panels and the roof, so a critter guard wraps around the edges of your panels to keep things from getting stuck underneath them. 

To keep out the small animals that are eager to live there, you should install critter guards on all four sides of your panel installation. This primarily applies to birds and squirrels, though any small animal may use this area. 

You may want to think about how much can actually pass through the barrier because you will need to protect your roof and solar panels from a variety of animals. While you do want to let some air flow beneath the panels, you also want to make sure that the holes are small enough to prevent animals from getting through. 

Additionally, critter guards stop objects like leaves from getting stuck under the solar panels. Your panels may require less maintenance as a result of this.

The fact that critter guards make the transition from the roof to the panels more seamless is another reason why some homeowners adore installing them. Determine if a critter guard is appropriate for you by considering the aesthetic goals you have for your panels. Some of them can be quite svelte, protecting your system and also being quite attractive.  

Why Do You Need A Critter Guard for Solar Panels?

Home solar panels are typically installed on your roof, leaving them exposed not just to weather but also to local wildlife. Birds and squirrels in particular have a reputation for harming rooftop solar installations. Squirrels can chew through exposed or hanging wires and occasionally nest under roofing panels. If the right wire is chewed, it can damage solar panels’ power lines, resulting in costly repairs and power outages. Birds (like pigeons) frequently build nests under and around panels, resulting in a buildup of dirt and excrement that can significantly reduce panel efficiency.

Environmental debris can harm solar panels in addition to neighborhood animals disturbing them. In the vicinity of the electrical wires that transfer power from your panels to your home, dry leaves and twigs that accumulate under your panels pose a serious fire risk.

‘Critter guards,’ which are strips of metal screening that resemble high-quality chicken wire and can be attached along the sides of rooftop panels, are frequently offered by solar providers to prevent damage from animals and the accumulation of flammable materials. These are also sometimes referred to as “solar bird netting.” Critter guards and bird netting can be installed to prevent squirrels and birds from getting under and between your solar panels and inflicting expensive damage because solar panels are installed with a gap between them and the roof for ventilation purposes. Additionally, they stop flammable debris like leaves and twigs from accumulating around the wiring and under your panels, reducing the risk of a fire.

What Stores Sell Solar Critter Guards?

Your solar installer can help you with a critter guard installation, or if your panels are already installed, you can find some options online from Amazon that you can set up on your own. 

Depending on the type you choose, the price of a critter guard can vary, with a custom installation costing between $500 and $2,000 or as little as $40 for 50 feet of netting if you buy it from Amazon.

One option that you can purchase is the Maporch solar panel bird wire, currently listed for $39.99.

The Maporch solar panel bird wire is 6 inches tall and 50 feet long and is constructed of PVC-coated galvanized steel mesh. Therefore, it is important to measure the length of your solar panel array to determine whether you need to purchase more than one wire to completely cover your system.

This is a cost-effective option, but since you would have to install it yourself using fasteners, it might not be done properly or safely.

The Solar Trim from Another option that uses peel-and-stick technology is Nixalite, which you can buy and install on your own. You can pick from a selection of options, which range in number from 6 to75 inches x 48 inches, up to 100 feet in length. 

You can get a free quote and a more precise estimate for the cost of the critter guard itself and the cost of installing it on your entire system if you want to work with a business that specializes in critter guard installations. 

Alternatively, your solar installer will be able to add critter guards to your panels if you are having them installed. 

What Could Possibly Go Wrong If You Don’t Put in Critter Guards?

One of the most annoying problems with a solar panel system without a critter guard is the potential for birds to build a nest underneath your panels, necessitating the cost of bird removal before you can install a critter guard. 

Or, if an animal gnawed through your wires, your entire system might be out of commission for a few days while you wait for it to be fixed.

However, the most dangerous scenario is that dry vegetation buildup beneath your panels could catch fire as a result of faulty wiring. Dry leaves stuck under your panel could make any faulty wiring dangerously combustible, which is what typically starts electrical fires. Even though it’s extremely uncommon, critter guards can help provide security. 

Solar panel critter guards have a lot of advantages, but they are not required and the majority of installations do not have them. But if your neighborhood has a lot of local wildlife like squirrels or nesting birds, they are probably a good addition to your solar array

Pest damage to your solar panels is typically not covered by homeowners’ insurance, but you might have luck with the warranty from the manufacturer or your solar panel installer. However, warranties vary from company to company, so you might have to pay for any necessary repairs out of pocket.

Critter guard – Right solar solution for your home

Critter guards can be a wise investment for your solar system because they shield your panels from potentially serious harm while keeping your roof looking neat and tidy. It is possible to install solar panels anywhere there is sunlight thanks to the availability of critter guards. Installing critter guards will shield your PV system from environmental harm even in areas with high squirrel and bird populations.

Solar installers on the EnergySage Solar Marketplace can design the ideal system for your home, including critter guards if your home needs them. When you sign up for the Marketplace, you can compare offers side by side to find the best offer and find the solar installer who is ideal for your home or business. Simply making a note of your preferences when you join will let us know that you’re interested in installing critter guards.

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