solar panel critter guards squirrels birds

Critter guards/bird netting for solar panels: protect your system from squirrels & birds

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A surprising threat to your solar panels may be the animals that live in the area surrounding your home. Birds and squirrels can damage your solar setup in several ways, leading to unwanted repair costs and headache. One solution to solar’s animal problem is to install “critter guards,” a physical barrier between your panels and the local fauna.

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Why do you need a solar panel critter guard?

Home solar panels are typically installed on your roof, leaving them exposed not just to weather but also to local wildlife. In particular, birds and squirrels are known to cause damage to rooftop solar installations. Squirrels will sometimes nest under rooftop panels, and can chew through exposed or hanging wires. They can cut power lines from solar panels if they chew the right wire, leading to expensive repairs and power loss. Birds (such as pigeons) will also often nest under and around panels, causing a buildup of dirt and feces that can lower panel efficiency significantly.

Aside from local animals disturbing your solar system, environmental debris can also lead to panel damage. Dry leaves and twigs can build up under your panels, acting as a dangerous fire hazard near the electrical wires moving power from your panels to your home.

solar panel critter guard closeup

To combat damage from animals and the buildup of flammable materials, solar providers commonly offer “critter guards,” which are strips of metal screening resembling high-quality chicken wire that can be attached along the sides of rooftop panels. These are also sometimes referred to as “solar bird netting”. Because solar panels are installed with a gap between them and the roof for ventilation purposes, critter guards and bird netting can be installed to block squirrels and birds from getting under and between your panels and causing costly damage. They also block leaves, twigs, and other flammable debris from collecting under your panels and near the wiring, preventing a potential fire hazard.

How to get critter guards and bird netting for your solar panels

Many solar installers will offer to install critter guards with your new rooftop panel setup. If critter guards are something you might want to have installed with your panels, make sure to confirm with your solar installer that they can install them. If you decide you want to install guards post-installation, there are many places to find yourself a product. Companies like Snapnrack and SolaTrim manufacture different styles of critter guards, which are then sold to solar installers and resellers around the country.

When looking into critter guards, it is important to find a company that will install the guards for you, especially if you are looking to add them to an existing PV system. Attempting to install critter guards yourself can be physically dangerous, as well as dangerous to your existing system – rooftop solar setups can be complicated, and pulling a wire or shifting a panel by accident can compromise your entire system. It’s always best to let professional installers add critter guards for you.

Find the right solar solution for your home, critter guards and all

Critter guards can be a worthwhile investment for your solar setup, as they prevent potentially large damages to your panels while maintaining a clean aesthetic for your roof. The availability of critter guards allows for solar installations anywhere there’s sun. Even in areas with high squirrel and bird populations, installing critter guards will protect your PV system from environmental damages.

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 join the Marketplace, you can find the solar installer that’s right for your home or business by comparing offers side-by-side to find the best deal. You can indicate your interest in installing critter guards by simply making a note in your preferences when you join.

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This entry was posted in Solar 101 on by .

About Jacob Marsh

Jacob is a researcher and content writer at EnergySage, where he focuses primarily on current issues–and new technology!–in the solar industry. With a background in environmental and geological science, Jacob brings an analytical perspective and passion for conservation to help solar shoppers make the right energy choices for their wallet and the environment. Outside of EnergySage, you can find him playing Ultimate Frisbee or learning a new, obscure board game.

19 thoughts on “Critter guards/bird netting for solar panels: protect your system from squirrels & birds

  1. andy

    I have critter guards, and the squirrels just pushed/pulled their way through. had people check on the panels and found several nests and baby squirrels, they ate most of the 24 panel wiring, so now waiting on a quote.

  2. RSmith

    There is a product out there called SolaTrim, which has been successful in keeping pests out from under the array. Looks nice, too.

  3. Bernard Waxman

    I just had critter guards installed around our panels by our original installer StraightUp Solar in St. Louis MO. They did a great job on the installation of the panels nine years ago and also on the recent installation of critter guards. I had this done after squirrels chewed through wires on one panel causing part of the system to stop working.

    I highly recommend Straightup Solar to anyone in MO or IL.

  4. John

    I had solar panels installed by Sunnova about 2 years ago. At the time of the installation I was uneducated about what critters can AND WILL DO to your home. I now have pigeons nesting under the panels. Causing a possible fire hazard. The panels provide the perfect climate, warm , dry and out of the elements. Now I have such a mess on my roof. Pigeon dropping clogging my gutters and all over my patio and pool. Sunnova refuses to help .. they keep saying they are reviewing and someone will get back to us. It never happens So BUYER BEWARE. Solar panel can be cost affective. But make sure they are installed properly with critter guard and would be very careful who you choose to install them. Critter guards ARE A MUST if your installing solar panels. Button line DONT CHOOSE Sunnova!

  5. Gladysfinch

    I got solar panels then belong to eon this year we be having squirrel around I ask eon can I have something to protect them they said until then do damage they do nothing I wish I did not have them please help


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