So, you’re considering investing a rather large chunk of money to have a solar energy system installed at your home with the benefit of receiving a preferred rate for the electricity you generate that will be guaranteed to you for 20 years through Ontario’s MicroFIT program.
Now you’re wondering what could possibly go wrong in the coming years. After all, it’s good to know about any problems that may arise now so that you’re going into this with your eyes wide open. By planning now for potential problems down the road, you can most likely prevent nasty service issues in future years.
The good news is that for most solar systems, there is very little that can go wrong. Solar panels have no moving parts which makes maintenance virtually non-existent. As for cleaning the panels, here in Ontario, we typically get a good rainfall once a week which naturally cleans the panels of any dust or debris. Solar panels typically come with a 25 year warranty so you’re covered in that respect. As for the inverter(s), they often come with a 10-25 year warranty (term will depend on the inverter you choose, so choose wisely).
If there was one thing that could potentially go wrong with your system, I would hazard to guess that it would be our furry little friends, squirrels. If your roof is near an area accessible to squirrels, they could decide to call your solar array home and set up a nice nest underneath your solar panels to protect them from local predators and the elements. However, a bigger concern than the nesting is what they do when in their new digs. You see, squirrels like many rodents like to chew and the wiring under your panels make a great snack for their little chompers. The damage that these little critters cause to wiring can result in thousands of dollars worth of repairs as your solar installer will not only be required to remove the panels, but also replace all of the wiring affected by squirrel damage. In the meantime, you’ll be losing production which also costs you money. Now for the really bad news, most insurance companies do not cover rodent damage which means that you’ll be on the hook for this bill. The solar industry has been experimenting with various solutions to this problem (coating the wires with a nasty taste that squirrel’s will naturally want to keep away from and protective wiring) but to date they have not provided us with a cost effective solution. So is all hope lost? – Nope.
The good news is that some solar companies are now providing customers with a product called Squirrel Guard which in essence is a galvanized steel screen that is installed around your panels and acts as a deterrent so squirrels (or birds for that matter) are unable to get under your solar system to wreak havoc. The Squirrel Guard screen is made by welding and hot-dip galvanizing, followed by PVC coating (this ain’t no chicken wire). This high quality screen stands up to the extremes of rooftops. It combines just the right mix of strength and weight with workability and transparency for a quick, long-lasting, secure and inconspicuous installation. Squirrel Guard is the most effective solution so far for squirrel damage to solar panels.
Be sure to ask your solar installer if they provide Squirrel Guard before you sign up especially if you know you could potentially have a squirrel issue either now or down the road.
We make it a point to inform our customers about Squirrel Guard before signing up. If you would like to speak to a solar specialist for a high performance squirrel protected solar system, please Contact Us or call us at 289-969-1809 or cell: 613-583-6127.
Author: Derek Wilson