> Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Screen Is Needed per Kilowatt?

Physical dimensions, rather than system output, is the best way to measure your needs. The geometric shape of the system layout, and if the array is split into separate pieces, are the true determinants. This, of course, varies greatly from installation to installation. Therefore, we recommended that you calculate a precise number before ordering, as we've seen a single roll be sufficient for an 8+ kW system and yet not enough for a 4 kW. To get this figure, simply calculate a linear foot measure of the entire system perimeter.


How Many Clips Will I Need?

Ordering one box of clips per single roll of the screen will almost always suffice. On average, 50 to 75 are needed per 100 linear feet, but no two systems are the same. We sell the two products separately, and not as a kit, to allow you to order precisely what you need.
Long straight runs require fewer clips, while corners require more. The type of racking used can make a difference as well, most often requiring fewer, other times requiring more. An experienced installer, looking at the schematic, can count almost exactly the number of clips needed on a particular system.


Why is the Screen 8 Inches High?

This height works on all but the most extremely elevated systems. If you find that this is too tall, we recommend folding the screen to the height needed. Folding adds rigidity to the screen — a good thing. Folding also saves a lot of time and reduces the risk of module damage if trimming after installation.


Why Do You Only Sell Black?

It’s all about aesthetics. We want your systems to look good. And a product such as this looks best if not seen at all. Black, even when paired with silver-colored modules, is the least visible screen. It blends into the shadows beneath the modules. It blends in with the roofing material as well, which is usually dark.
Beyond how it looks, the alternative (galvanized screen alone) has no protective coating and is, therefore, less durable. The PVC coating gives added corrosion resistance for extremely harsh locations such as seaside installations.Does the system work with any module?
The system works with framed modules from almost any manufacturer. What is needed is a frame with a lip around the entire bottom edge, where it rests on the racking. There are a few modules that do not have this lip, such as some from Kyocera. These modules do, however, have mounting holes upon which the hook can catch. Frameless, or all-glass modules, are not appropriate for this system.


Will It Really Keep Them Out?

Our experience shows that the sooner the system is protected the better. If there is a pre-existing population, it may be difficult to get vermin to move on. If other nesting spots exist they may choose to stay. Our system does keep them out from beneath the modules as intended. Most animals will not expend a lot of energy to find habitat. Once the deterrent is in place, they will move on to more accessible areas.


Why Do Pigeons Like Solar Roofs and Nest Under Solar Panels?

Pigeons seem to like the shade and, more importantly, it protects them from exposure to predators. Composition shingles are the perfect texture to keep nest building material in place and the stand-off posts make a perfect anchor. In areas with little other protection, solar modules make a great home while the rooftop ridges are perfect perches.
Birds love the shelter provided underneath solar panels and can deposit significant droppings and nesting materials. Rodents like squirrels also commonly nest under the panels and chew wiring.
Pigeons nesting under the solar panels retain moisture and rot the roof while abandoned nests, called ‘guano’ fills gutters, covers patios, furniture, etc. They make noise, especially at night.


How Can I Get Rid of and Keep Pigeons Off My Solar Panels?

Myths

  • Roof spikes are only for roosting on ledges and other places that you don’t want them to land/roost yet pigeons just wriggle through this as well.
  • Plastic predators only work for a week or two.
  • Keeping your yard and garden clean is only a deterrent and not a solution.

Solutions

  • Wildlife Abatement System properly installed around your solar systems.

Bird Mesh as this is one of the most effective bird-proofing options for home solar systems. Our mesh screening is installed around the panels, preventing access beneath the panels, thus protecting the roof, wiring, and equipment from damage. The non-penetrating system uses special clips to fix the mesh to the panels without the need for drilling or gluing. The system is easily removed but will require more hardware mesh clips for reinstallation. The system is also indiscreet, even from close up as it blends in with the shadows.


Why Do Squirrels Chew the PV Wires?

All rodent’s teeth grow continuously, therefore they must chew, chew, chew, to keep them the proper length. We believe that certain materials or textures are irresistible. Residential PV puts a bunch of chewy stuff in the shade, up high where squirrels like to go. You might as well have given them a written invitation!
One installer told me he finds damage mainly confined to the area around the nest. Unfortunately, this can’t be assumed when diagnosing a problem. The entire system must be checked, which means removing ALL panels. A lengthy and costly procedure.
For the unlucky homeowner, sometimes the material of choice ends up being their solar wiring, connectors or even the wiring junction boxes on the back of the panels. Obviously this is not good for electrical equipment, drastically or even completely limiting production.
There is also potential danger of short circuits starting fires or causing damage to the insulation. While the latter is undetectable, itcan lead to future damage because it can let in water, which will corrode parts of the system.
We hear stories about soy-based wire insulation or tasty oils in it as well. We’ve never seen any evidence of this and see this idea as speculation and anthropomorphizing.


Is Mesh Strong Enough to Deter Squirrels From Bending Up From the Bottom; Are There Clips to Fasten the Bottom of the Mesh to the Tabs of the Shingles?

If installed properly (tight) then it keeps squirrels out. I can’t guarantee a good installation, unfortunately. That’s up to the customer. One customer claims that squirrels did get in, so he bends the bottom of the screen outward, so the squirrel is standing on it and can’t pull it out. I recommend bending/folding it under at the bottom (easier than cutting) because it looks better and creates more direct pressure onto the roof, to keep it in place.
The Solar Mesh is made of weather-resistant style black-coated galvanized steel wire, with a PVC coating so it will be difficult for a rodent to get through.
We recommend skirting the bottom when you install the mesh in order to reinforce the bottom so that nothing can squeeze under as well. That said, the screen must be installed under tension as the clips won’t hold without proper tension.
Essentially, if the screen stays in place before you tighten the hardware, then you’re doing it right.
Critters can cause damage under your home solar panels. Installing a squirrel guard on your solar system can help avoid that. In particular, birds and squirrels are known to cause the most damage when they chew through wires, build nests, damage shingles and cause roof leaks.


How Prevalent is the Problem?

As the industry and our company continue to grow, we should get a precise picture of where the problem does and doesn’t exist. We expect that it is widespread but in pockets. Newer developments, with fewer trees, next to older ones with active wild animal populations, are most likely the worst off. Of course, the more solar a state or region gets, the more likely that a pest problem will develop.
Every year, rodents and birds cause hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage to solar panels. Over time, nests, droppings, and debris can cause considerable damage to solar roofs.


How Can I Offer Solar Panel Protection Installations?

If birds are an issue (or likely to be an issue in the case of new solar installations), solar panel bird proofing should be installed in the form of mesh on all sides of the array. Note that solar panel protection is harmless - it simply encourages the birds to hang out somewhere else.
Spiffy Solar Products should be installed which are specifically designed for wildlife abatement systems, firstly because they are penetration-free and secondly ensure your customer’s panel warranty isn’t voided by drilling into the panels in order to attach screen.