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  • 1.  Replacing Solar Panel Wiring

    Posted 01-30-2022 07:10 AM


    I have raccoons getting to my roof and chewing at my solar panel wiring. Where can I purchase the wiring and install directions?


    Pedro Figueroa

    Home owner

    Sent from Mail for Windows


  • 2.  RE: Replacing Solar Panel Wiring

    Posted 01-31-2022 10:15 AM
    I can't help you with sourcing wiring, but I can suggest putting "critter-guard" or similar heavy wire cloth around the perimeter of the panels to keep the little beasties from getting under the panels, where the wiring is.

    Peter Gollon
    Huntington, NY

  • 3.  RE: Replacing Solar Panel Wiring

    Chapter Leader
    Posted 01-31-2022 11:00 AM

    Pedro Figueroa -
         I live in rural Maine and have similar problems with 'rodents' ... If you can find decent #10 (or #12) wiring, and a 'conduit' to string between PV modules and the junction ... you may get satisfaction from the racoon problem !
         Although I have found over the years that if we 'feed them well' ... they will be satisfied and leave the wiring alone ... ! Try it ... you'll like it ! Good luck and be careful in the 'attic' !

    Peace -
    John Burke
    Maine Solar Energy Association;  SEADS of Truth, Inc.
    Downeast Alternative Design Solar, Inc.  (DADS, Inc.)
           -  (207) 546-1639;  (516) 669-2442
    "Sometimes doing your best is not good enough. Sometimes you must do what is required."
    -Winston Churchill
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    A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones"
    -Nelson Mandela

    " ... the caged bird sings of freedom"!
    -Maya Angelou

    "If you are going through hell, keep going." -Winston Churchill

    "The supreme reality of our time, is the vulnerability of our planet"
    - John F. Kennedy

  • 4.  RE: Replacing Solar Panel Wiring

    Posted 01-31-2022 11:08 AM
    They make side skirts that will go down to the roof and wont allow squirrels and other animals get to them. Look into those. Lori at fortune energy can get them for you. 5124674466 She will help you and she can get you new wiring and instructions.

    Steve Johnson
    AbleEasy, LLC

  • 5.  RE: Replacing Solar Panel Wiring

    ASES Award Winner
    Posted 01-31-2022 07:38 PM
    I recently had racoons trying to chew my roof - so I had a roofer put metal plates under the shingles they'were gnawing, and put on squirrel guards around my photovoltaics and solar thermal panels -- and the pesky
    racoons seem to have looked else where.   - Scott

    Scott Sklar
    President & Adj Professor
    The Stella Group, Ltd, GWU EEMI
    Arlington, VA

  • 6.  RE: Replacing Solar Panel Wiring

    Posted 02-08-2022 07:08 AM
    Today's solar modules (panels) come with leads made using PV Wire, almost universally 10AWG, and terminate in male and female locking connectors on the positive and negative leads. Many module manufacturers use MC4 connectors made by Staubli, but not all.  H4 is another type/brand.  The type of connector used would be listed on the data sheet for your module.  Older modules and extension wire used USE-2 wire which has thinner insulation and so smaller Outside diameter than PV Wire.  Code requires the connectors be compatible, so make sure you look at the connectors used in your system if you will be repairing any wiring and installing new connectors.  If your system also has optimizers or other module-level electronics, those will have similar wire and connectors. Look at the data sheet for those as well.  You may have to remove some modules to get at the wiring, and if so, you may want to consider hiring a local solar professional to do this for you.
    What you would need to repair chewed up wiring:
    1. PV Wire, MC4 (or whatever is compatible with yours) male and female connectors and crimp pin and socket terminals
    2. the crimp tool that is made for your connector/terminals (could run $100 to $280)
    3. an MC4 (or other) connector release tool (plastic device to help release the mated connector halves)
    4. Some PV wire management clips, like Heyco or Hellerman Tyton, to help tuck the wiring back above the module frame when done rewiring
    5. Fall-protection harness, an anchor point, and appropriate ladders and other dafety gear
    If modules need to be removed:
    5. Tools to remove the top clamps, could be 1/2-in socket, allen wrench, etc, plus a torque wrench
    6. A helper and a good plan to keep loose modules from sliding off roof
    7. If your mounting system uses WEEB washers for grounding, you will want to purchase some new ones as the old ones should not be reused. If the mounting system uses integral binding pins, you won't need this.
    Of course you will need to shut down the system, and if your system was installed recently and meets Rapid Shutdown requirements in NEC 2017, then high voltage would be removed from the array while shut down.  If you have an older system that does not have Rapid Shutdown or only meets the 2014 code requirement for Rapid Shutdown, then the array may be hot with high voltage (up to 600V) during the day.
    One last note, if there are any loose/bad crimps, improperly mated connectors, exposed conductors, wiring hanging down and touching roof surfaces, or improperly secured modules when you are done, then you will likely have problems down the road. So if you are not confident in your ability to do it correctly, maybe hire a competent installer.

    Ken Nadsady
    AviSun Renewable Energy
    Hudson OH

  • 7.  RE: Replacing Solar Panel Wiring

    Chapter Leader
    Posted 02-08-2022 07:47 AM
    As a D-I-Y solar person, I do get the opportunity to 'replace' wiring and 'up-grade' systems when appropriate ! Our 'off-grid' solar home has been through many upgrades and has had additional PV modules and wiring installed. We have 'done it ourselves' as the D-I-Y implies ! I agree with the presenter here, that if you are not 'intimately' familiar with your PV system, you may want to contact the installer you have dealt with in the past, as the 'intricate' rules and standards may have changed ! Please be careful and wear a mask whenever doing any work around any rodents (including squirrels, mice, raccoons, as well as others, ... since there may be opportunities for spread of disease and pestilence) ! Seriously, do call for a 'qualified' PV technician for any operation that you do not feel comfortable taking on ! ...

    John Burke
    Director, MESEA, Maine
    Maine Solar Energy Association; Downeast Alternative Design Solar, Inc
    Jonesport ME