The 3 Main Environmental Hazards That Threaten Home Solar Arrays

How Nature Can Put Rooftop Solar at Risk

The latest Solar Industry reports now put the total number of Solar households in the U.S. at nearly one million, with another 2 million installations projected in the next 2-4 years. With the average installation costs at an all-time low, solar productivity climbing as panels become more efficient, and with solar storage rapidly becoming an attractive consumer option, it is expected that more and more consumers will choose solar to offset their long-term energy costs.

While standard Power Purchase Agreements come with 20-year terms, some Solar Finance companies have begun to extend the terms to 30 year, making solar affordable to even more households . This means that having a system operational on top of the roof for 2-3 decades is a promise to the consumer that the longevity, productivity and safety of the system will not be the homeowner’s concern for the length of the agreement.

However, as reliable as solar components are, there is still a threat to this promise of Solar’s durability, and that threat comes from Mother Nature. Listed below are Three Environmental Hazards Threatening Solar Arrays.

1) ROOSTING PIGEONS AND OTHER BIRDS

Having roosting pigeons under your solar panels presents not just a nuisance but a high risk of disease. Serious health risks can arise from disease organisms that thrive in nutrient-rich pigeon droppings, feathers and other bird-related debris, particularly after a few seasons have passed. Additionally, there are insects that are attracted by nesting birds, and their droppings and may be left behind when infested birds leave the roost. These insects may invade a house and become a problem to the residents. An effective bird barrier is highly recommended to eliminate this infestation occurrence.

Important: there are fungal diseases associated with bird and bat droppings. The two most common are Histoplasmosis and Cryptococcosis. Unfortunately, there are more problems than just Bird Flu to be concerned about. According to the New Jersey Dept. of Health and Senior Services, there are over 60 other diseases that birds and their droppings can carry. The problem is especially worrisome in residential areas, as many of the diseases are airborne and can be transferred to humans just by being around droppings.

2) SQUIRREL or OTHER RODENT DAMAGE

When squirrels are seeking shelter and food, they will chew through whatever they can to feed and to satisfy their natural teething process. This is why squirrels are a threat to solar systems, especially in the area underneath solar panels. Once the natural shelter underneath the solar panels has been discovered, squirrels will begin to chew on insulation and electrical wires. By doing this, they can damage the wiring in your solar electrical system requiring expensive repairs or potentially create a fire hazard by short circuiting solar components or wiring.

3) ADDITIONAL HAZARDS

Solar panels theoretically increase the risk of household fire due to issues like the potential for electrical arcing, electrical malfunction, faulty installation, or critter damage. Other hazards are: leaves and debris that accumulate under the solar panels trapping moisture and promoting rot; winter snow loads and/or ice dams that degrade or damage wiring and electrical connections. It is critical to the safety of the home and to the home solar system that the area underneath the system array be kept clear.  To prevent damage and to extend the life of a solar panel system, debris, branches or leaves must not be allowed to accumulate beneath the solar panels.

CONCLUSION:

Residential rooftop Solar systems are unfinished and vulnerable without a protective barrier around the array perimeter. Nature’s unpredictability means that environmental and biological damage will certainly occur in some form over the 20-30 year projected lifespan of the system. SolaTrim is an aesthetic and permanent solution to the problem of damaging environmental impact on rooftop solar.

Beautify Your System.

Protect Your Investment. 

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