We have solar panels on our roof. They’ve been up there over 10 years now, and in the summer, we make a lot more power than we use, and while during winter we run a deficit, our net usage is around 1000 kW hours per year, about an 80 percent reduction. The panels have worked well, they’ve paid for themselves (helped by great rebates and tax credits at the time of install) and the system has been very reliable, with only a few repairs over the years.
Two summers ago, I realized the solar wasn’t working, and called for service. It took a while, owing to the mushrooming growth of solar usage here in Colorado, and the non-commensurate growth of trained technicians for service. (Hint, if you’re looking for a career, there is a need) After a few weeks wait, our service person arrived, and following a few minutes on the roof, he determined that something, most likely a squirrel, had chewed through one of the wires, shorting out the system. I was a bit surprised that there wasn’t an electrocuted corpse on site.
The technician replaced the wire, and we were good to go. However, he also recommended that we get a product called bird barrier installed to prevent squirrels, birds and others from nesting underneath the panels. Earlier that same summer, there had been a series of eggs broken on our deck, as the pigeons nesting underneath failed in their nest placement and construction, resulting in eggs rolling off the roof. At the time of the service call, the pigeons had succeeding in building a better nest, as our technician reported that there was nest occupied by 3 fledglings under one of the panels.
We left the nest undisturbed, and a few months later, in early fall, the pigeons had moved on. I called our tech back, and he installed the bird barrier netting a few weeks later. No bird or squirrel nests on the roof anymore. The wasps remain undeterred, but I don’t think they’ll eat the wiring.