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Critter Guards for Solar Panels: Are They Worth It?

Updated: Apr 11


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In the realm of harnessing clean and sustainable energy, solar panels have become synonymous with environmental responsibility and energy efficiency. Across the United States, including the verdant landscapes of New Jersey, homeowners and businesses alike have embraced solar power as a means of reducing their carbon footprint and energy costs. However, there's a silent intruder that often goes unnoticed, threatening to undermine the benefits of solar energy – squirrels.

Squirrels, with their tireless energy and insatiable curiosity, pose a unique challenge to solar panel installations. Their penchant for gnawing on wires, nesting under panels, and causing damage can turn a green energy investment into a costly repair job. But fear not, for this article aims to shed light on the issue of squirrel-proofing solar panels, particularly in the context of New Jersey.

In our quest to safeguard your solar investment and protect the environment, we'll explore practical solutions, answer common questions, and introduce you to the formidable defender known as "Critter Guard." Whether you're a proud New Jersey homeowner or a solar enthusiast from afar, join us on this journey to ensure that your solar panels remain untarnished by these furry invaders. Let's harness the power of the sun while keeping it squirrel-free.





How to Squirrel-Proof Solar Panels in NJ

New Jersey's lush landscapes and diverse wildlife make it a beautiful place to call home. However, the very elements that make the Garden State so appealing can also pose unique challenges for solar panel owners. Squirrels, in particular, are notorious for their persistence when it comes to infiltrating solar installations. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to squirrel-proof your solar panels and protect your investment in the heart of New Jersey.

1. Inspect Your Property

  • Begin by conducting a thorough inspection of your property. Identify nearby trees, branches, or structures that could provide easy access for squirrels to jump onto your solar panels.

2. Tree Trimming

  • Trim tree branches that overhang or come close to your solar panels. Squirrels often use these branches as launchpads to reach the panels.


3. Install Critter Guard

  • Consider installing Critter Guard, a highly effective solution designed to keep squirrels and other critters away from your solar panels. This protective barrier is specifically designed to fit around solar arrays, preventing access without harming the animals.


4. Secure Entry Points

  • Examine your roof and any potential entry points. Seal off openings and gaps where squirrels could gain access to the underside of your solar panels.


5. Scent Deterrents

  • Some homeowners find success using scent deterrents, such as predator urine or mothballs, near their solar panels to discourage squirrels from approaching.


6. Regular Maintenance

  • Stay vigilant with regular maintenance. Check for signs of squirrel activity, like chewed wires or nests, and take swift action to address any issues.


7. Professional Assistance

  • If squirrel activity becomes a persistent problem, consider seeking professional assistance from wildlife removal experts like "Conscious Critter Removal." They have the expertise to safely and humanely remove squirrels from your property.


By implementing these measures, you can greatly reduce the risk of squirrel-related damage to your solar panels in New Jersey. Keep in mind that prevention is key, and the use of specialized products like Critter Guard can provide long-lasting protection for your solar investment, ensuring it continues to shine brightly in the Garden State.




Preventing Squirrels from Going Under Solar Panels

Squirrels, with their agility and determination, can be remarkably resourceful in finding their way under solar panels. Once they establish a cozy space beneath the panels, they can cause extensive damage to your solar system. Preventing squirrels from accessing this area is crucial for maintaining the integrity of your solar installation.


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Understanding Why Squirrels Go Under Solar Panels Before we delve into prevention methods, it's essential to understand why squirrels are drawn to the space beneath solar panels:

  • Shelter: Squirrels seek shelter under solar panels to escape harsh weather conditions, including extreme heat and cold.

  • Nesting: They often view the area as an ideal nesting site, where they can safely raise their young.

  • Protection: The underside of solar panels provides protection from predators, making it an attractive option for squirrels.


By implementing these measures, you can effectively keep squirrels from going under your solar panels and protect your solar investment. Let's explore effective ways to prevent squirrels from going under your solar panels:


1. Install Critter Guard: Consider installing Critter Guard. This specialized barrier is designed to fit seamlessly with solar panels, creating a physical barrier that prevents squirrels and other wildlife from accessing the area underneath


2. Regular Inspections: Conduct regular inspections to detect any squirrel activity or entry points beneath the panels. Inspect your solar panel installation for any openings or gaps that squirrels could exploit to gain entry beneath the panels. Seal these gaps with durable materials to deny access


3. Seal Entry Points: Seal any openings or gaps under the panels that squirrels could use for access.


4. Trim Overhanging Branches: Trim tree branches that may serve as a jumping point for squirrels onto your panels. If squirrels have already taken up residence beneath your solar panels, it may be necessary to trap and relocate them. Consult with wildlife removal professionals who can safely and humanely handle this process. Contact Conscious Critter Removal today for help trapping and removing animals from your solar panels.


5. Consider Scent Deterrents: Some homeowners use scent deterrents, like predator urine or mothballs, to deter squirrels from approaching the panels. Squirrels may be discouraged by strong-smelling fragrances like peppermint oil. Predator urine makes the squirrel think a predator is in the area, and that they should leave quickly.




By implementing these preventative measures, you can significantly reduce the risk of squirrels finding their way under your solar panels. Critter Guard, in particular, is a reliable solution to fortify your solar array against these determined intruders, ensuring that your clean energy investment remains secure and hassle-free.




Squirrels and Nests Under Solar Panels

Squirrels are not content with merely perching on top of your solar panels; they often take their invasion a step further by building nests beneath them. These nests can cause a range of problems, from damaging your solar system to creating safety hazards. Let's delve into the matter of squirrels and nests under solar panels.

Understanding Squirrel Nesting Behavior Squirrels are skilled nest builders and seek out secure and sheltered locations for their homes. Squirrels often view the space beneath solar panels as an ideal location to build their nests. The underside of solar panels provides several enticing qualities:

  • Protection: Solar panels offer protection from predators and adverse weather conditions.

  • Warmth: The warmth generated by solar panels can be appealing, especially during colder months.

  • Elevated Position: The elevated position provides a vantage point for spotting potential threats.

The Risks of Squirrel Nests Squirrel nests under solar panels can lead to several issues:

  • Electrical Damage: Squirrels may chew on wiring, posing a risk of electrical malfunctions and even fires.

  • Efficiency Loss: Accumulated debris from nests can reduce the efficiency of your solar panels.

  • Safety Hazards: In extreme cases, nests can obstruct airflow, causing panels to overheat and creating fire hazards.


Preventing Squirrel Nests

Here are steps you can take to prevent squirrels from nesting under your solar panels: 1. Critter Guard Installation

  • Consider installing Critter Guard around your solar array. This not only prevents squirrels from accessing the underside but also discourages nesting.

2. Regular Inspections

  • Schedule regular inspections to check for signs of nesting activity. Early detection allows for prompt action.

3. Secure Entry Points

  • Seal any openings or gaps beneath the solar panels that squirrels could use for entry.

4. Nest Removal

  • If you discover a squirrel nest, consult with professionals to safely remove it and address any potential damage.

5. Deterrents

  • Use scent deterrents or devices that emit ultrasonic sounds to discourage squirrels from nesting nearby.

By addressing the issue of squirrel nests under your solar panels proactively, you can protect both your solar investment and the safety of your property. Critter Guard plays a significant role in this effort by preventing access and deterring squirrels from creating nests in the first place.



The Cost of Installing Critter Guard

Critter Guard Installation can cost between $500- $2500 depending on a variety of factors. These factors can include the size of your solar array, the complexity of installation, the choice of materials, and your geographic location. It's recommended to obtain quotes and estimates from professionals in your area to determine the specific cost for your unique situation. While there is an upfront expense, investing in Critter Guard can help prevent costly damage to your solar panels, making it a valuable long-term investment.

Factors Influencing the Cost

Several factors can influence the cost of installing Critter Guard: 1. Size of Your Solar Array

  • The larger your solar installation, the more materials and labor may be required to install Critter Guard. The cost often scales with the size of your system.

2. Complexity of Installation

  • If your solar panels are situated in a way that makes installation more complex, such as on a steep roof or with unique mounting structures, this can affect the installation cost.

3. Professional Installation vs. DIY

  • While some homeowners may opt to install Critter Guard themselves, many prefer to hire professionals for a seamless and secure installation. Professional installation typically comes with additional labor costs.

4. Choice of Materials

  • The cost of Critter Guard can vary depending on the brand, type, and quality of materials used. Higher-quality materials may come at a premium but can offer greater durability and effectiveness.

5. Geographic Location

  • Your location, including factors like regional labor costs and weather conditions, can impact the overall cost.


Cost-Effectiveness Considerations It's essential to consider the cost of Critter Guard in the context of its long-term benefits. While there is an upfront expense, this investment can yield several advantages:

  • Preventative Savings: Critter Guard helps prevent damage to your solar panels, potentially saving you from costly repairs or replacements down the line.

  • Enhanced Efficiency: By ensuring your solar panels remain clean and undamaged, you maintain their energy production efficiency.

  • Peace of Mind: Knowing your solar investment is protected can provide peace of mind and reduce future worries.

Obtaining Quotes and Estimates To determine the specific cost of installing Critter Guard for your solar panels, it's advisable to obtain quotes and estimates from reputable professionals in your area. They can assess your unique situation, provide a tailored cost estimate, and discuss the potential benefits of Critter Guard for your solar system. Remember that while there is an initial cost associated with Critter Guard installation, it can be a worthwhile investment in the long run, ensuring the longevity and performance of your solar panels while protecting them from unwanted animal intrusions.




Common Problems Squirrels Pose to Solar Panels

Squirrels, those nimble and seemingly harmless creatures, can pose a multitude of problems when they decide to make your solar panels their playground. Understanding the common issues they create is crucial in safeguarding the efficiency and longevity of your solar system.

1. Chewed Wiring Squirrels are notorious for their gnawing habits. They can chew on the wiring beneath your solar panels, posing not only a risk of electrical malfunctions but also a potential fire hazard. Damaged wiring can be a costly problem to fix.

2. Reduced Efficiency When squirrels build nests or leave debris beneath solar panels, it can block airflow and trap heat. This reduces the efficiency of your solar panels, which means you're not getting the full benefit of the energy they could produce.

3. Damage to Panels Squirrels are curious creatures, and their explorations can sometimes lead to physical damage to the solar panels themselves. Scratched or cracked panels can compromise their performance.

4. Nesting and Debris Squirrels love to nest in cozy, sheltered spots, and the space beneath solar panels fits their criteria perfectly. Nesting materials, feces, and other debris can accumulate, creating unsightly and unsanitary conditions.

5. Increased Maintenance Costs The problems caused by squirrels under solar panels can lead to higher maintenance costs. Regular inspections, cleaning, and repairs may be necessary to keep your solar system in good working order.

6. Energy Production Loss Ultimately, the cumulative effects of squirrel-related issues can result in a loss of energy production. This means you're not maximizing the benefits of your solar investment, and your energy savings may be compromised.

7. Safety Hazards In extreme cases, squirrel-related damage can pose safety hazards. Chewed wiring can create electrical problems, and debris buildup can lead to overheating, potentially causing fires.



Protecting Your Solar Panels

Given the potential problems squirrels can cause, it's clear that taking steps to protect your solar panels is essential. Installing solutions like Critter Guard, as discussed earlier in this article, can effectively safeguard your solar investment by preventing squirrels from accessing the underside of your panels. By addressing these common squirrel-related issues proactively, you can ensure that your solar panels continue to provide clean energy efficiently and safely.




Conclusion

In the pursuit of harnessing the sun's energy through solar panels, homeowners and businesses alike find themselves in a constant battle against an unexpected foe - squirrels. These seemingly innocent creatures can wreak havoc on your solar investment, leading to damage, reduced efficiency, and increased maintenance costs. However, as we've explored in this article, there are effective ways to defend your solar panels against these persistent intruders, especially in the beautiful landscapes of New Jersey. We began by understanding why squirrels are drawn to solar panels and the risks they pose, from chewed wiring to nests that obstruct airflow. Armed with this knowledge, we discussed practical strategies for squirrel-proofing your solar panels, including the installation of Critter Guard, regular inspections, and sealing entry points. We also delved into the cost of installing Critter Guard, recognizing that while there may be an upfront investment, it's a safeguard against potential future expenses and a means to maintain your solar system's efficiency. The long-term benefits, including peace of mind, make it a cost-effective choice.

Lastly, we explored the common problems squirrels pose to solar panels, emphasizing the importance of proactive protection. From chewed wires to reduced energy production, the consequences of squirrel-related issues are numerous, making prevention a wise choice. As you embark on your solar energy journey in New Jersey or anywhere else, remember that your solar panels are an investment in both sustainability and savings. By taking steps to squirrel-proof your solar installation, you ensure that your panels continue to shine brightly, generating clean energy and reducing your carbon footprint for years to come. So, whether you're a homeowner looking to safeguard your property or a business committed to sustainable practices, consider the importance of squirrel-proofing your solar panels. With solutions like Critter Guard and a proactive approach, you can enjoy the benefits of solar energy while keeping these furry invaders at bay. Thank you for joining us on this journey to protect your solar investment and the environment. Together, we can harness the sun's power and ensure it remains untarnished by squirrel-related challenges.



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