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Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

12/07/2009 12:40 PM

I have several PV solar panels mounted on my roof. Squirrels have eaten through the insulation on several of the wires. Any suggestions on keeping the squirrels away or protecting the wires? The solar panel installer is also researching for a solution. The installer says the wires are not rated to be covered with a metal jacket. I do not want to enclose the panels with hardware cloth because that would cause a dam from leaves building up and it's not possible to eliminate all of the trees in the area that drop leaves. My installer says we may be able to encase the wires (there are a lot of wires!) in a plastic conduit, either rigid or flexible plastic. I've heard of a wire embedded in a tape that glues to the roof shingles. The wire gives a mild shock to the rodents when they touch the wire, if they walk on it. Someone also suggested using a standard electric fence installed around the panels or roof perimeter. Any ideas??

Thanks,

Don

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#1

Re: Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

12/07/2009 12:51 PM

Hello - my area we put out scarecrow Owls as decoys - that possible? sure works around here....never a problem in the strawberry patch!

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#2

Re: Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

12/07/2009 1:05 PM

A survey of the net found the following 13 home remedies that people have used to repel squirrels.

  • Nutmeg and cinnamon
  • Peppermint oil
  • Capacin
  • Jalapeño peppers (mashed in blender)
  • Serrano peppers (mashed in blender)
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Chili powder
  • Tabasco sauce
  • WD-40
  • Aspirins and peanut butter (crush 100 aspirins and mix with peanut butter)
  • Dog hair clumps
  • Hair clippings
  • Used cat litter (placed around plants)

Some of these "oils" may cause more damage than cure your problem . . . but what the heck . . . you might cure the varmits headaches too!!!

We had the frisky devils get into the attic at the lake cabin . . . tore the false ceiling right out!!! Looked like huge rat nest!

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#3
In reply to #2

Re: Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

12/07/2009 1:39 PM

Is there anything WD-40 cannot do.

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#45
In reply to #2

Re: Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

01/10/2010 10:24 AM

Add one more to your list. It works, but I am not real sure why.

Crush a box of Ex-Lax and mix with peanut butter and spread on wires.

P E Bobimm

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#4

Re: Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

12/07/2009 2:10 PM

Here I question the installation that would leave wires exposed and unprotected that a animal can chew through. There are squirrels everywhere along with mice, rats, chipmunks, etc.. As far as the wire not being rated for installing in metal conduit. The damage is done and the wire will need to be replaced, do so with wire that is.

What would make you believe that plastic conduit will protect them. A rodent can chew through it also. May take a little longer the end results the same.

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#6
In reply to #4

Re: Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

12/07/2009 3:08 PM

Thanks for the replies everyone. Please keep them coming. Why do I think plastic pipe will deter squirrels? I don't. That's why I'm asking. The home remedy solutions: hot peppers, etc.: I know from personal experience that that stuff does work, but it is temporary on non-porous surfaces. When I was having trouble with carpenter bees I coated the wood with a cayenne pepper/water solution. It also works for keeping barnacles off of boat hulls. Exposed wires: I don't think it would be possible to conceal the wires unless the wires were run from a panel through the roof, into the attic, under to the next panel, up through the roof to the next panel, and so on. Since I have 36 panels that would probably mean over 36 holes in my roof.

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#16
In reply to #4

Re: Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

12/08/2009 1:52 AM

I totally agree with this input.

ANY insulated wire can be installed in conduit, but your best choice is either THW or THHN. You can use lightweight conduit, but the safest installation is good old rigid with threaded connections and water tight pull boxes. Using galvanized pipe will help the weathering but regular pipe, cleaned of grease and oil, sprayed with Rustoleum in a color that matches surroundings is likely the best option.

If your installer does not have the skill to do this installation, hire a licensed electrician. It will only take about a day to run the conduit and you can clean and paint it yourself to save a few bucks.

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#46
In reply to #4

Re: Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

01/10/2010 11:25 AM

I will tell you again. The bite pressure in a rats jaw is 24,000 psi. I would spray Waterproof Rataway Fragrance. on the plastic lines. It works and spray often.

It can turn into a maintaince program. I am in the heating & air conditioning business 42 years. I deal with rats, mice, squirrels, etc.... everyday. I use Rataway fragrance all the time. Http://www.aircontrolcompany.com Rats chew 28.88 minutes everyday on wild things or man made. Their teeth grow 3-4 inches a year. Look at the link on mole rats.

Pacific Science Center Life Sciences: Something to Chew On

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#5

Re: Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

12/07/2009 2:59 PM

I have solar panels, and I encased all of my wiring in metal conduit. There is NO substitute for metal. Yes a rodent can chew through underground PVC conduit, so I would use metal conduit for your roof panel wiring. I would not trust the installer to do anymore work, I can't believe he'd leave them exposed if for no other reason than damage to the plastic coating insulation from the sun and weather. He should have at least used PVC conduit, and again metal would be best.

Matt

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#7

Re: Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

12/07/2009 3:34 PM

There is something more to this than just your situation Don. What you are describing, this little challenges with your system, is part of what makes the transition to alternative energy sources so financially unpredictable. I have great respect for the risks that you have taken in this worthy effort . . . at the same time the risk of reliablity . . . insulation on wiring . . . exposure to damage . . . certainly a cost consideration that greatly influences your financial considerations for your installation. We see in just this example the challenges that everyone that decides to "solarize" must contend with. Enough to make me want to have that nuclear power plant next door . . . darn they cancelled it . . . dollars were more important than CO2 back then. I know, that last comment was not called for, but I as you can tell I'm definitely pro-nuke and not happy at all about the last 25 years of lost time.

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#9
In reply to #7

Re: Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

12/07/2009 6:21 PM

Nukesub,

Going down a new road is unpredictible. I also believe we need to build more nuclear power plants, and better planning for dealing with spent nuclear fuel.

I don't understand why my panel wires, according to my installer, can't be put inside metal conduit. Can anyone tell me why it should not be in metal conduit? The installer said the panel manufacturer told him the wires are not "rated" for installation in the conduit.

Thanks,

Don

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#17
In reply to #9

Re: Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

12/08/2009 2:00 AM

Your installer does not know how to install wiring properly. He appears to be someone who has jumped onto the "Green" bandwagon with an eye on making a few quick bucks.

He has installed the panels. Say goodbye and hire a licensed electrician to do the work.

By the way, did your installer get a permit for your project? I don't think he did, which puts your facility at risk with the insurance company if the installation is not to code. A licensed electrician can check the work and recommend whatever changes are required.

If the installer did not get a permit, call the local building department and ask what needs to happen to be sure you are in compliance, including giving them the name of the installer so they can take action against him. This type of activity is happening more often and well-meaning home owners are getting shafted.

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#52
In reply to #17

Re: Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

03/09/2010 6:04 PM

You must not have done any solar installations. You do not place MC connectors within conduit. Solar modules have what we call whips and have MC connectors on the end, male and female. Conduit can collect water and cause the MC connector to short out over time. Wires are installed under the modules and secured using clips. None are exposed to phyical damage. Squirrels are an oddity and we are looking into ways of preventing them from chewing the wires. Conduit is not an answer. And by the way most electricians do not understand PV as of yet. I have had to school many in the does and don'ts of interconnecting. Most electricians think from the AC side and PV has both. Make sure the installer has been trained to install and that a licensed electrician is involved. Don't make the assumption that just because the installer is an electrician he knows what he's doing.

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#53
In reply to #52

Re: Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

03/09/2010 9:57 PM

Hi there fella knuckleheads put drain holes in conduit...

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#24
In reply to #9

Re: Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

12/08/2009 10:16 AM

Your panel "wires" are probably actually cables with 3 or 4 individually insulated conductors wrapped inside an outer sheathing. Cables can build up excessive heat if they are run through conduit especially when the conduit is buried in the ground. Plus, if the cable is fairly stiff there is a high probability that you will nick the insulation if you try to push the cable through a conduit.

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#66
In reply to #9

Re: Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

01/19/2013 3:56 AM

Possibly the spent nuclear fuel would be an effective deterrent against squirrels, once we casually dismiss the obvious potential for dangerous, radiologically-induced mutations (better known as squibbles).

Yes, they are literate, fond of smashing cast-iron bath fixtures and one of even them frequents this forum from time to time.

You have been warned.

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#8

Re: Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

12/07/2009 4:42 PM

I have solar panels (and batteries, inverter, etc.) out of necessity. The nearest grid box is about 25 miles away as the crow flies, and my house is on top of a mountain. So, solar it is. Been "off the grid" for over 10 years and no problems, did it all myself, it was pretty straight forward.

So, with the panel wiring you just described, it sounds just like mine, and I used multiple short runs of conduit in-between each panel. I have a set of panels in series then several of those series sets in parallel. Yep, I put all that wire in conduit. Lots of conduit. I have squirrels all over the place, the wife likes to feed them and keep the eco-system thriving . Sounds like you would have a lot of disconnecting and reconnecting to do to get all wires in conduit - but I suggest you do it. You don't want a squirrel gnawed wire touching something it shouldn't when the wind blows, or when another rodent walks across it and shorts out that line (or shorts/blows your back feed diode if you are running panels with diodes on 'em).

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#10

Re: Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

12/07/2009 7:00 PM

I have no idea why your installer would say that, DC flowing through the wire inside metal conduit works. Mine have been in metal conduit for 10 years...no prob. You can contact www.backwoodssolar.com for some of the best advice and tech support in the country. Ask them about metal conduit.

I think we should have started more nuke plants 25 years ago too, we are way behind the curve ball!

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#11

Re: Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

12/07/2009 7:29 PM

I suspect that your installer is probably looking at codes . . . Be that as it may, if codes do not require that conduit be used it is to his monetary advantage to not use conduit. Also, consideration must be given to the purpose of the wire . . . if the wire is part of a delicate control system then stray inductive or capacitive reactance between the wire and metal components may be a concern. There could be other concerns too . . . lightening strikes . . . ground path . . . etc. Keep in mind that the manufacturer is probably the best source of information concerning alternate installation components.

If you post a picture to take a look at . . . a picture speaks a thousand words . . .

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#12

Re: Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

12/07/2009 11:38 PM

A Gun!

Seriously, I've knocked a few off with 22 shorts, but also my pellet gun does a pretty good job if you can get close enough!

Squirrels are terrible little critters especially the grey squirrels as they eat baby birds. Take notice, if you have grey squirrels you have very few birds.

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#13

Re: Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

12/07/2009 11:38 PM

You can use split conduit and you can ask the installer why they used wire not rated for conduit in an exposed environment and suggest he make it so.

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#14

Re: Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

12/08/2009 12:44 AM

KRIS!!!! Del doesn't feed you enough or something????!!!!

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#29
In reply to #14

Re: Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

12/08/2009 4:44 PM

He's building a new nest. Nuts where abundant this year which happens when there is a lack of work.

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#15

Re: Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

12/08/2009 1:32 AM

Boil a quart of water, remove from stove, mix in 2 tablespoons of cayenne pepper and one half teaspoon of Tobassco sauce. Stir until well mixed. Let cool for 2 or 3 hours. pour into a sprayer and spray the wires on a dry day. Repeat every 3 months

P E Bobimm

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#18

Re: Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

12/08/2009 5:28 AM

Kill one.... the rest will go to its funeral....and won´t bother you for a while....hehehehe

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#19

Re: Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

12/08/2009 6:45 AM

What is the size and gauge of the cable you are having a problem with?

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#20

Re: Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

12/08/2009 7:19 AM

A BB gun works well

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#21

Re: Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

12/08/2009 8:15 AM

You can rewire using metal flex conduit or buy a Ruger 10/22 with a 4-12 50mm Barsa scope and a Hogue rubber molded stock with a KID barrel. I Think two TI 25 round, steel lip, polymer magazines would work well using "Reminton HP Golden Bullets" that cost less than $29/ 550 pack at Walmart. If need be, you can aquire a silenced barrel and pay the Feds $180 to register it.

I would go with the conduit unless you feel the need to get even. Squirrels are quick learning rodents and once they develop a habit they will work out a way to maintain it. I have never seen a deterent work for more than a few weeks. I have a relative that feeds the little _______ corn under a tree in the back yard and supplies them with four or five weather-proof bird houses in the shade in the tree. They now leave his stuff alone but his neihbors hate him.

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#22
In reply to #21

Re: Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

12/08/2009 9:14 AM

I don't know about the size/guage wire. I'm gonna call the panel maker today and try to get some specifics as to why they don't want the wire inside metal conduit.

I don't think getting rid of the squirrels is an option. I live on the edge of a swamp and there are just too many of them. I'm just fortunate that the wild hogs can't climb up to the roof.

Thanks,

Don

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#23

Re: Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

12/08/2009 9:31 AM

Try "Rataway fragrance" spray, get the waterproof spray, it will work. look it up on the Internet. It works on rats,mice, squirrels,etc...

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#25

Re: Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

12/08/2009 11:02 AM

Have you considered just running bear wires on insulated poles? It seems to me that it would be the most economical way to go. Since solar panels produce low voltage it should not be a hazard. No insulation, no worry about squirrels eating it.

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#26
In reply to #25

Re: Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

12/08/2009 11:07 AM

A deterent too

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#27

Re: Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

12/08/2009 11:11 AM

Hire a roof cat...

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#28

Re: Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

12/08/2009 1:29 PM

I had a similar problem once and I fixed it by spraying tabasco (the hot one) to the wires. It is harmless to the squirrels but they definitely don't like the taste (unless you live in Mexico and these are local squirrels)...Honestly, it worked... cheap fix, fast, easy.

Rgds

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#32
In reply to #28

Re: Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

12/08/2009 6:15 PM

OK, here's the latest: I called the panel maker and the rep. said that the wires an be run inside metal conduit. I relayed this to my installer and he said that the National Electrical Code (NEC) prohibits this particular type of wire from being run in metal conduit because of heat buildup. I don't like heat buildup. I had a fire, caused by a faulty piece of equipment, in my camper a couple of years ago. One fire is enough. I just want a permanent solution. I like the hot sauce solution but it doesn't last. As I had said in a previous post, I sprayed a cayenne pepper and water solution on wood to deter carpenter bees. Thanks again everyone for your suggestions. Keep 'em coming.

Don

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#36
In reply to #32

Re: Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

12/09/2009 11:16 AM

I question the heat build up issue with the wiring. Any wire that is laying out on a hot roof should have insulation properties to deal with heat.

The connecting wires between the panels where they supplied by the solar panel manufacturer or by the installer?

What does the panel manufacturer recommend?

May be the installer is cutting corners on poor grade wires that he can not now place in conduit do to NEC code.

With that code in mind what does it say about the installation as a whole. Was it inspected?

What is your recourse as far as warranty goes? If the panels and installation were part of a package. I would approach the manufacturer about the poor install. No Manufacturer wants poor installation to curb the sales of their product.

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#47
In reply to #32

Re: Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

01/10/2010 12:43 PM

Hey, if Cayenne pepper worked, maybe try mixing some of it with some clear coat, exterior poly or varnish. Mix about a teaspoon to one or two ounces of clear. You can apply it with a brush. You can also thin your clear down and add more pepper. It would not wash off and as soon as the squirrel bite into it he would back off.

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#30

Re: Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

12/08/2009 5:27 PM

This may be off topic and I will mark it as such, but I am curious why some animals seem attracted to electric current, no matter how small. When I lived in the country I buried a radio fence to keep our dogs in the yard. I was constantly repairing it because of squirrels, not to mention a neighbor's pet pot bellied pig who would break the wire and have a good old time letting our dogs out and running through the country side.

Do these critters have a sensitivity to electrical fields that annoys them?

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#31
In reply to #30

Re: Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

12/08/2009 5:44 PM

Something to it I think. I recently installed a driveway sensor to open an automatic gate opener. A fox dug the sensor up three times before I thwarted her by stacking rocks on it. In this case it was a 'wand' which responded to magnetic materials and tripped a RF transmitter to open the gate.

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#33

Re: Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

12/08/2009 6:30 PM

Solar panels are usually connected with single core, double insulated wire. I bet the wire is a grade that doesn't need conduit in terms of weather/UV degradation and this has been misinterpreted either by the installer or by Don.

Since you are probably in an area with low environmental pollution why not use aluminium trunking. This is available with clip on lids so you may be able to install it without re connecting all your cables.

regards

Chas

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#34
In reply to #33

Re: Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

12/09/2009 7:04 AM

Chas,

According to both the panel maker and installer, the wire is double insulated and, under normal circumstances doesn't need further protection from the environment. The installer, who seems to be a little more versed in NEC code compliance, tells me that the wire is not supposed to be installed in conduit due to heat buildup. So, the problem is how to protect the wires and not cause heat buildup. The installer is now proposing running the wires in a raceway under the panels, which would allow for ventilation of the wires. But, there would still have to be some sort of flexible connection/encasement/conduit/whatever between the raceway and the collector box where the wire runs terminate. I believe for these short runs, flexible metal conduit, open at the bottom end just inside the raceway, could be used.

Thanks,

Don

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#35
In reply to #34

Re: Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

12/09/2009 7:08 AM

Can you post the specs. on the cable? Do you have the manufacturer's name? In the telecommunications industry we run DC cable in conduits all the time. Also there are cable manufacturers that make "Squirrel cable," it is an armored sheathed cable to deter the tree rats.

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#37
In reply to #35

Re: Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

12/09/2009 11:35 AM

Here's my reply to another question in another forum section:

It's XLPE (the type?), 10AWG (gauge?). That's what is printed on the wire. At the panels the wires terminate in a fitting that is made into the panel. The installer received approval from the manufacturer to use a weather-proof splice on the wires that have been chewed through. The installer's solution, at least under the panels, seems novel and effective. They are going to use perforated, convex shaped, aluminum gutter guards to nest the wires in. The gutter guards are about 4" wide, 3' long and are hinged on one edge. I think we may be able to adapt the gutter guard to encase the wires in where they run from the panel array to the collector box. Do you see any problems in doing this?

Thanks,

Don

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#38

Re: Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

12/09/2009 11:39 AM

After working for an electric utility for 30+ years, my suggestion is a shotgun. They are nothing but tree rats anyway.

My apologies to the animal lovers, but you have a real battle on your hands.

I would go with putting the wires in a conduit. Use at least a schedule 40 plastic or aluminum conduit.

good luck

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#39

Re: Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

12/10/2009 4:22 AM

I'm curious as to why squirrels are chewing on the wires in the first place? They don't resemble food or anything....

I've tried the fake owl thing, which works for a little while, but the little buggers aren't so stupid. You have to change it out every few months/weeks either to a different position or different- looking owl. I'd say if you do this along with the pepper spray it should hold them off for a while. I am surprised that your solar installer hasn't dealt with this problem before, especially if they have been in business for a little while and done more than a handfull of installs.

And killing the squirrels might be satisfying, but it's not so eco-friendly is it? Isn't that part of the point of solar panels?

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#40
In reply to #39

Re: Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

12/10/2009 7:39 AM

Squirrels will chew on anything; they do that to sharpen their teeth. They have even chewed a portion of my vinyl siding on my house. Squirrels are one of the maintenance issues with major telco providers. They eat the cable, the splice cases and once they get into the splice cable they eat the wire out of their way to make nests. That is why when new cable is ran through back yard pole runs, where squirrels use the cables as a form of easy transportation, they hang PASP a reinforced "Squirrel cable."

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#41

Re: Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

12/10/2009 11:53 PM

I had a similar problem---also. Try a 220 volt system (take it off your cloths dryer electrical circuit) for the panel and put a copper ground wire along the wire raceway for the panel. Hang the ground wire off the roof so you can get to it under the eaves near your outside faucet. Wet the ground. Hold the ground wire and stand in the water when the squirrels are on the roof. It works every time. Everyone is happy. The squirrel, that little sucker, is dead and PETA will have no one to blame. During the investigation about the dead squirrel, one wondered why the black burned statue of a humanoid holding a short wire was there. Since they couldn't find the owner of the home, the PETA investigation was dropped for lack of evidence.

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#42
In reply to #41

Re: Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

12/11/2009 3:16 AM

Careful that someone, who stole the squirrels nuts, does not actally ry that

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#43

Re: Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

01/10/2010 7:24 AM

I am an Electrical Inspector. The guy who told you the wires can't go in conduit is blowing smoke. They can and do go in conduit on a roof. The problem with the solar PV panels is that the way they are manufactured they do not lend themselves to having conduit piped right up to the wire housing on the underside of the PV module (PV panel). Therefore there will be exposed insulated conductors somewhere along in the installation.

I was having a terrible time with squirrels vs. a bird feeder in my back yard. No smells, flavors, ugly scents or hanging systems would work. "Squirrel proof" bird feeders? No such thing. Then a friend of mine told me about Wild Bill's bird feeder this gadget works off of a simple 9-volt battery. It doesn't harm the birds but when a squirrel jumps up on the bottom tray to feed and then touches the bird perch, BAM ! the squirrel gets slammed with a nice jolt of voltage. Average jump distance after getting zapped is four to five feet. Its a thing of beauty to bird lovers everywhere. It only happens once and the squirrel won't try it again. Now if someone wants to become a multi-millionaire along with me we can perfect the idea together and invent Wild Rich's PV protector and that is the end of suirrels chewing on the PV system conductors. richvanwert@aol.com

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#44
In reply to #43

Re: Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

01/10/2010 10:13 AM

WILD BILL. I have the title of Patent Engineer. I have spent 40 years as a patent engineer, and I do 3 hour seminars on patents. I have 2 engineering degrees, and 2 business degreess.

P E Bobimm

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#48

Re: Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

01/24/2010 6:11 PM

Sorry if this has been covered.

1. most rodents rats , squirrels, etc like the EMF produced by AC, But for PV installs the wires USE-2 or XPLE insulation has a soft chewey outer shell that some animals just find "entertaining. First make sure the wires are supported in a professional and workman like manner". Second, the wire can go in a conduit but is not required by code as long as it is protected, which when used under PV panels it is considered that. If you have current carrying conductors in a conduit on a roof or wall per the 2008 NEC derating is required based on the distance of the conduit from the roof or wall. Check out the Copper.org website, good info, I use it in class.

http://www.copper.org/applications/electrical/building/derating.html

As far a chewwing on the wires, the mesh is a good idea or a screen around the perimiter of the array, which will also keep, stray frisbees and debrin from collecting under the panels creating hot spots and potential. fire hazards. Just remember to clean and maintian occasionally.

P.S. one last good overall on PV compliance.

http://www.iaei.org/magazine/?p=365

Have a great day.

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#49
In reply to #48

Re: Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

01/25/2010 8:28 AM

Thanks for the info EVI. The wires have been encased in aluminum mesh--actually the stuff used for keeping leaves out of gutters. And, I trimmed all of the shrubs and trees around the house to make it harder for the squirrels to get on the roof. Fortunately, I haven't seen any squirrels on the roof since. I had considered putting harware cloth around the array but that would catch leaves and cause damming and limit ventilation which is important for keeping the panels from getting too hot. The panels are much more effecient at lower temperatures. I discovered that this winter when, even though the sun exposure time was less, the kwh production was as good as the production was during the longer and hotter summer days. I'll check those links. Thanks again.

Don

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#50
In reply to #49

Re: Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

01/25/2010 9:08 PM

Most panel manufacturers actuallly have standard performance Data. It will give you the performance rating based on temperature rise. This is a good link to use for panel data even though it is for inverter sizing.

http://america.sma.de/newstringsizing.aspx

hope this helps you.

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#51

Re: Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

03/09/2010 5:55 PM

To those who do not install Solar PV: Modules are connected with preinstalled MC connectors. Sloped Roof mounted systems are install and modules are strung in series. To propose installing the whips of the modules in metal conduit is ludicrous. The conduit may trap water which will corrode the terminals of the MC connector causing a short and most likely a fire. The USE-2 cable from most module manufacturers is UV resist and roof mounted systems are not prone to phyiscal damage. We have had two systems chewed up by squirrels but in NO WAY are we installing the USE-2 cables in conduit!!

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#54

Re: Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

04/09/2010 5:09 PM

I landed on this group because I was looking for a solution to keep squirrels from eating the wires attached to my solar panels. I have 44 panels and 7 have been damaged, a couple of which the wire was severed. The panel have been in service 4 years and this year I expanded the array and that is when we discovered the damage. The suggestion in this discussion went from very knowledgeable to several who hadn't a clue as to what is involved. My panels come with two 4 ft whips made of use- wire with MC connectors. Putting them into conduits is awkward and still leaves several inches exposed (photo of damaged cables). NAC code is another factor. The hardware cloth barrier is a good

suggestion, but mice still can get through that and they will catch debris. The squirrels were getting on to my house either by the grid entrance wire, or as I have seen them do, climb the corner vinyl siding. I now have installed barriers at those points. The panels on the garage roof are easily accessible by these tree rats from neighbor's shed, neighbors trees and a common fence. Knowing the problem with hardware cloth, I think I'll still go with the hardware cloth barrier around the array on my garage roof. The electrician I have engaged is quite knowledgeable in his trade and on solar arrays. We are both licensed, he as an electrician and as a solar installer (by the local utility). I am a licensed A&P Technician with plenty of experience in electrical systems.

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#55
In reply to #54

Re: Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

04/16/2010 8:27 PM

As a solar installer in NJ for 10 years, we've had to make several repairs to solar because of squirrels. We have used stucco mesh around entire arrays which seemed to work quite well. Wherever we fix the wires, we have used an inexpensive 3/4 inch polyethylene tubing which seems to have worked quite well also as a shield. The gutter guard material seems like it might be a good choice but i haven't tried it yet. I don't think I'd like to try metallic conduit because I'd hate to see its weight on a wire wear into it. My policy to date, is just repair it, try to protect it, the poly seems to work pretty good. I use 80psi lawn sprinkler system poly as a protective sleeve.

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#56
In reply to #54

Re: Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

04/16/2010 10:08 PM

Thanks Guest. I am opting for a wire mesh around the parameter. Other than visual observation, how does one know one or two panels have been compromised?

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#57
In reply to #54

Re: Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

05/26/2010 10:57 AM

You have to use a fine wire mesh so that none of these little varments can get through to destroy your panels. I have seen the same problem happen over and over again over the past few years and this always seems to work. The wire mesh barrier around the roof should be quite a deterrent to these harmful squirrels.

-J

http://www.bwire.com/

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#59
In reply to #54

Re: Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

02/14/2011 1:59 PM

Hello, perhaps you can help.

We purchased a small house 3 years ago and it has solar panels. The squirrels ate through some of the wires last year and now we get the same code of "status 434" on the box. How can we protect the wires under the panels, would putting a perimiter around the panels work? Do you know of any legit contractors that would be able to help us? You help would truly be appreciated...

Thanks...Amy

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#61
In reply to #59

Re: Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

02/14/2011 3:25 PM

Read the story on Rataway Fragrance that is in this Blog I posted a year ago.

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#58

Re: Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

05/26/2010 11:20 AM

Try this get some hardware cloth, spray foam and Rataway fragrance.

Put a jacket of hardware cloth over the cables, spray Rataway Fragrance, spray a layer of spray foam (get the slow acting foam) a layer of Rataway Fragrance, more spray foam, spray again with Rataway fragrance then paint with water base paint and spray Rataway Fragrance as you paint to lock in the Rataway Fragrance again with Rataway Fragrance. That should stop the chewing.

Or try the simple way first spray spray Rataway Fragrance mixed with Alex Plus clear calking. I have used it many times.

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#60

Re: Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

02/14/2011 3:15 PM

I'm pleased to announce that I haven't had squirrel problems for several months now. Hardware cloth (actually the aluminum mesh used for placing over gutters to keep leaves out) was wrapped over the wires and secured with UV resistent zip ties. No more squirrels!

Thanks for all of your suggestions.

Don

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#62

Re: Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

02/14/2011 5:00 PM

I believe many commenter's don't have an idea how solar panels are wired. In brief, each panel usually comes with a pre-installed pair of wires about 3 ft long permanently attached to the panel and have water tight connectors on the ends. These wires either get connected to the next panel or go to the combiner box. these are the wires squirrels attack. So putting wires into conduits is labor intensive and each section of conduit needs to be secured to the adjacent structure. If it is a roof as in most houses, then they present a potential leak through the roof. The wires are specific to the panels and can be expensive to replace. In my case, I had 8 panels out of 36 damaged by squirrels. It cost me $1800 to have an electrician repair them. All the panels had to be removed and inspected. I agree that wire mesh will cause its own problems. Using Rat Away or pepper or anything of that nature is temporary. Weather, wind and sun determines how often the product needs to be reapplied. My solution involves several methods. The object is to keep the squirrels away. I put squirrel barriers on the corners of the building so they can't climb at that point. I had the local power company put a squirrel barrier on their entrance wires to the house. I stopped feeding the birds. I installed several fake owls (not near each other as they are territorial). And I keep bushes, ivy vines and trees away from my house and garage. I occasionally live trap them and move them to the woods a mile away. I don't see a problem in my case with rats and mice as my panels are on a single family dwelling and these type of vermin don't usually frequent the roof area.

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#63

Re: Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

02/14/2011 6:15 PM

Himart---Yea, the solution is multifacited. In addition to installing the mesh, I trimmed the heck out of the bushes and trees near my house. I have seen squirrels jumping from large bushes onto my roof. With spring coming I will again attack the bushes with my pruners. They (the bushes, trees, and squirrels) look better pruned anyway.

I don't recommend installing a metal mesh "dam" above the roof-installed panels because that can cause a water dam if there are trees in the area. Most PV panel connecting wires have shielding which will prevent problems due to metal mesh installed around the wires.

Thanks,

Don

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#64

Re: Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

11/02/2011 1:44 PM

Great suggestions on this thread! Of those of you who have installed a metal mesh perimeter around your solar array, have any of you seen any galvanic corrosion affecting the mesh or the panels?

I put up a plastic mesh (hardware cloth) perimeter around a customer's roof-mount array last month because I was concerned about galvanic corrosion on metal mesh screwed onto the panel frames. Now I'm worried that the squirrels will chew through the mesh and get started on chewing the wires again.

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#65
In reply to #64

Re: Squirrels Eating Wire Insulation

11/07/2011 10:49 PM

Have you tried giving the tree rat a special wire they can sink their teeth into and light up their day? Put right there in the open and easy to get to.

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