While it’s a commonly held idea that solar panels are the best choice for energy, from an ecological perspective, there may be hidden layers to the problem. One of those layers is the relationship between solar panels and local wildlife.

Can Wildlife Damage Your Solar Panels?

Can Wildlife Damage Your Solar Panels?

Here are ways wildlife can damage your panels, and how to prevent damage:

How Wild Animals Damage Solar Panels

Since you install panels on your roof, you’ve got to wonder about the animals that scuttle on your roof. While some critters like rats may end up on your roof by accident, there are some, like birds and squirrels, that commonly are on roofs. However, these wild animals can damage solar panels.

It’s a common problem for homeowners to discover scratches on their panels from animals. By scratching the photovoltaic cells, these animals may not necessarily put the solar panel out of commission, but in time, these scratches will cause a significant reduction in performance.

Aside from scratches, squirrels damage electrics. by sharpening their teeth on electrical wires. Birds have also been known to peck wires.

Yet another cause for concern is the accumulation of wildlife droppings on top of the solar panels. Because the waste of these animals is highly acidic, it risks corroding them. Even high-end stainless steel frames can be damaged, particularly if they’re exposed to wildlife droppings for extended periods.

Solar Panels are Also Damaging Wildlife

Since these wild animals don’t understand that there are these hot plates on your roof birds will often fly into the panels, and squirrels may scale them. Because of the high temperatures caused by the sun’s heat, these animals can be seriously injured, or even killed by direct contact.

Not only is that bad for the birds, but it’s also bad for you. An accumulation of dead carcasses on your roof may attract other predators, causing further damage to your panels. Furthermore, if an animal dies directly on the panel, the carcass, combined with the prolonged heat will not yield a pleasant result.

How to Protect Your Panels

The above shouldn’t mean that you give up your solar panels altogether, merely that you take some extra precautions to prevent wildlife damage to your expensive solar panels.

The best thing you can do to protect your investment is to consult with a wildlife professional.  They’ll be able to assess the situation and advise you on how to best deal with it. They’ll install prevention mechanisms suited to your specific situation. 

To keep squirrels away from your roof, you want to regularly trim the trees directly surrounding your home. By cutting their access to the roof, you significantly reduce their chances of damaging your solar panels.

As for birds, you may invest in common deterrents such as bird spikes, or else, lure them elsewhere. You may even install a birdhouse, a bird feeder, or a bird bath in your yard. This way, the birds will be attracted to another point of the property and may leave the panels alone.

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About the Author: Patricia Davis Brown

Patricia, like her blog, is not a one-dimensional designer, which is evident in her accolades of 17 national design awards. Over a 38-year career in the industry, she has carved a niche in several areas of design. Licensed in interior design and certified in kitchen and bath design, she offers a full menu of design services ranging from whole house interior design, kitchen and bath design, lighting design, full remodels, commercial design and universal (ADA) design. Patricia is a sought-after speaker in the industry and has been published in many publications as seen on her interior design firm’s website, https://www.patriciadavisbrowndesigns.com/. She writes for such publications as QuinStreetinc, Relaxed Remodeler, and eHow.com talent offering design tips.