Considering “going green” and installing solar panels on your Lexington KY home to augment electrical delivery for your home? This strategy has gained popularity in recent years and we’re seeing new solar panel arrays going on local roofs regularly. Seems like a win win to utilize that roof square footage for such a strategy, what have you got to lose? The answer is more money, that’s what you have to lose. “Come again?! Solar is suppose to save us money in the long run!”
Okay, okay, in fairness an undisturbed solar panel array should net you savings on your electric bill over time. But, with the increase in solar panel installs here in Lexington KY at Trifecta Wildlife we’ve experienced an increasing trend in phone calls regarding squirrels nesting under the panel arrays and chewing on the wiring harnesses. Chewing is an entirely normal squirrel behavior, however, when on your solar panel investment results in a disabled system and very costly damages to repair. The problem is clear. Solar panels sit about five inches off of the roof surface and the panel arrays create a microclimate under them that is warmer and more weather sheltered than other potential nest sites for squirrels, AKA “good habitat.” We haven’t even mentioned until now that birds are also glad to nest under these solar panel arrays, but that’s a story for another day.
The good news is that we have a solution for this solar squirrely situation! It’s simply the installation of a material that physically stops squirrels, birds, and other wildlife from accessing the underside of the solar panel array. But bear in mind, not all service providers utilize quality materials, or the ethic to ensure the proper performance of their installations. At our most recent solar panel array exclusion project where squirrels had chewed the wiring and disabled the array, our client reported that he thought the issue had been resolved by a past company, but clearly that wasn’t the case as a squirrel was actively nesting under the array again causing a need for costly repair, and proper exclusion to end the damage long term. Our evaluation revealed the reality of the situation as shown in the two pictures above. A 19 gauge steel welded wire material was loosely “hung” from the panel edges; as you can see it took nearly no effort to push the material aside. Removing approximately 150 linear feet of this installation was a tough pill to swallow for our client, but it was simply spurious and never adequate, as if a shifty squirrel had been the salesman.
Following removal of the prior material Team Trifecta set to the task of properly excluding the array in a way that will stand the tests of time. We fabricated and installed a perimeter barrier that is 16 gauge galvanized steel, 1/2″ x 1/2″ welded wire, and black vinyl coated. It’s extremely stout material, and the pictures above show the fun we had during install and the final product. Goodbye squirrels, goodbye birds, hello sunshine! Run that electric meter backwards!