Everything You Need To Know About Critter Guard + How To Determine If Your Solar Installation Might Need Some
As the world shifts towards sustainable energy sources, solar power has emerged as a leading contender in the race to combat climate change. However, solar panels are not immune to challenges, and one unexpected hurdle that solar system owners may face is the intrusion of critters. These unwelcome guests, ranging from birds to rodents, can cause significant damage to solar installations. Enter critter guards, the unsung heroes of solar system maintenance. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into everything you need to know about critter guards, from their importance to the installation process, and the signs to look out for that might indicate that you need to add it to your solar system.
What Exactly Is Critter Guard?
A critter guard is a physical protective barrier designed to prevent animals, birds, and other unwelcome guests from accessing the area beneath and around solar panels. Usually a mesh screen, these guards wrap around your solar array closing in the gap between the bottom of the solar panels and the top of your roof so that nothing can get in. They are essential for safeguarding solar installations against potential damage and disturbances caused by wildlife. They also prevent leaves from getting caught under the panels, so your solar system stays looking fresh all year long.
The Importance of Critter Guards:
Critters, such as birds, squirrels, and even insects, may seem harmless, but when it comes to solar systems, their presence can spell trouble. These creatures can nest, chew, or scratch on the solar panels and their wiring, leading to a multitude of problems. Here’s why critter guards are indispensable for your solar setup:
- Birds and other critters often view the space beneath solar panels as an ideal nesting spot because of the warmth that the solar panels emit as they generate power. Unfortunately, nests can lead to several issues, including fire hazards and damage to the solar panel wiring… not to mention a lot of droppings around your home (trust us, we’ve seen some extreme cases in our day). Critter guards seal off the space between the panels, effectively preventing animals from making themselves at home in these spaces.
- The wiring beneath solar panels is vulnerable to damage caused by rodents chewing on them. This not only poses a safety risk, can result in a significant drop in the system’s efficiency, but the damage also tends to slip through the cracks of what your warrantees cover. The result can be extremely costly. Critter guards form a protective barrier, shielding the wiring from potential harm.
Maintaining Efficiency and Cleanliness:
- Any obstruction on the surface of solar panels can hinder their efficiency. Bird droppings, leaves, or other debris can accumulate on the panels, reducing their ability to capture sunlight. In addition, leaves love to get stuck underneath solar panels, creating an eyesore up on your roof. Critter guards not only keep animals away but also help maintain the cleanliness of the solar panels.
Does Your Solar System Need Critter Guard?
While we recommend critter guard with most every installation, not every home needs it day 1. Our solar installations are built to stand the test of time. So, if your home is built in a newly developed area it’s highly possibly that there isn’t enough wildlife activity to warrant it from the get-go. It’s often something our clients come back for later down the road though once landscaping develops into maturity and wildlife consequently moves in. Determining whether your solar system needs a critter guard involves observing signs of potential critter activity and assessing the risk factors in your specific environment. Here are some indicators that suggest your solar system might benefit from critter guards:
You Live in an Area with Mature Trees & Have Surrounding Wildlife Activity:
- You have mature trees surrounding your home, and you have seen squirrel or bird activity on your roof or around your home in the past. Even if they haven’t ever nested around your house in particular, if you know they’re in the area we highly recommend installing critter guard with your solar system.
Unusual Sounds or Activity:
- Pay attention to any unusual sounds coming from the vicinity of your solar panels. Scratching, chewing, or fluttering noises may indicate the presence of critters attempting to nest or explore the area.
Visible Signs of Nesting:
- Look up at your solar panels for visible signs of nesting materials, such as twigs, leaves, or debris. Birds and rodents may use the space beneath the panels as a sheltered area to build nests.
Droppings or Stains:
- Bird droppings or stains on the surface of your solar panels can be a clear sign that birds are roosting on or around the panels. This not only poses cleanliness issues but may also lead to long-term damage.
Chewed Wiring or Damage:
- Rodents, especially squirrels, are known for chewing on wiring. Regularly check the wiring and components of your solar system for any signs of damage or wear that could be attributed to critter interference.
Reduced System Efficiency:
- A sudden drop in the efficiency of your solar panels could be an indication of an obstruction. Accumulated debris, bird droppings, or nests can reduce the amount of sunlight reaching the solar cells and impact energy production.
Previous Critter Incidents:
- If you’ve experienced critter-related issues with your solar system in the past, it’s a good idea to be proactive and install critter guards to prevent recurrence.
Cost & Installation Process:
Whether being installed with the solar system or retroactively, critter guard is a cost effective and easy addition to your solar arrays. When we mentioned our tailored, on going care in our Support & Service page, we weren’t kidding – and critter guard installation is no exception. We have a dedicated team to help you, even after your system is fully installed. We’re always just a phone call away.
- Installing critter guard is very cost effective in comparison to the damage repair costs that can arise from unprotected solar arrays. Contact us today at 720-465-9073 to get an exact quote for your solar system.
- Before installing critter guards, our teams clean the solar panels thoroughly to ensure optimal efficiency and remove any existing debris, bird droppings, or leaves that may have accumulated.
- Once the panels have been cleaned, our installation teams will then secure the mesh screens to the panel frame, closing off all gaps between your panels and your roof.
- Critter guards require periodic maintenance to ensure their effectiveness. Regularly inspect the guards for any signs of wear, damage, or accumulated debris. Clean the guards and solar panels as needed to maintain optimal performance.
In the quest for sustainable energy, safeguarding your solar investment is paramount. Remember that prevention is often more effective than addressing the consequences of critter damage. Critter guards offer a simple yet effective solution to protect your solar system from the potential havoc wreaked by birds, rodents, and other critters. Regularly monitoring your solar system and taking proactive steps, such as installing critter guards, can help ensure the longevity and optimal performance of your solar panels. So, let’s embrace the power of critter guards and pave the way for a cleaner, greener energy future.