Are Critter Guards Necessary for Solar Panels?

Getting solar panels can be a hefty investment, so trying to protect them from damage to guarantee they perform at peak capacity for their lifetime is a natural concern for homeowners and businesses alike. One of the most common protection items for solar panels is critter guards, and in this blog we’ll discuss how they work, the different types available, and why you should consider installing one to keep pesky animals away from your panels.

What Are Critter Guards?

Critter guards, also known as wildlife deterrents, pest barriers or solar screens, are physical barriers that surround the solar array and prevent animals from accessing or nesting under the space between the panels and the roof. 

Why Should You Install Critter Guards?

Wildlife damage can be more severe than most people may think. For example, the main threats to solar panels are birds, squirrels, and rodents. They tend to nest under the panels and chew on exposed wires, leading to debris buildup and damage to wiring, resulting in a decrease in the system’s power output and expensive, unwanted repairs.

Aside from wild animals disturbing your solar panels, critter guards can also serve as protection against environmental debris such as dust, dirt, pollen, leaves, branches, or bird droppings that can accumulate on the surface of solar panels over time and potentially reduce the amount of energy the panels can generate. 

What Types of Solar Critter Guards Are Available?

There are two types of critter guards in the market, and which one to choose will depend mostly on the most common animals in your area and your budget:

Wire Mesh

These guards consist of a flexible, sturdy mesh of light metal installed around the perimeter of the solar panels and attached to them with mounting brackets and fasteners. They create a barrier that prevents animals from crawling underneath. Wire mesh critter guards are effective at keeping out small animals like rodents and birds while allowing airflow and keeping the panels’ temperature stable.

mesh solar critter guard


This critter guard option is the most cost-effective, and you can buy it online on sites like Amazon, but it can be more challenging to install if you want to do it yourself.

Adhesive Barrier

These are light metal strips that are adhered to the solar array with a peel-and-stick heavy-duty adhesive, forming a cage that will keep critters at bay. The metal strips can be cut with a snap or shears and bent at the corners as needed to fit and surround the array completely. 

adhesive solar critter guard


Adhesive critter guards are easier to work with for DIY installers but are usually more expensive than their mesh counterparts and can’t be reused in your panels if you have to remove the strips for repairs.

Protecting Your Investment Is Easy

Installing a critter guard for your solar system is a protective step that will save you money and more than a headache if squirrels, birds or rodents choose to make their home below your panels. Proactively protecting your investment with critter guards is easy and will ensure your panels produce energy with no mishaps for decades to come.