Possum-proofing solar panels

We are considering installing solar panels. We live with possums in the garden (and want to keep them - they don’t bother us) and lots of inquisitive birds.
Someone suggested that we may wish to have the panels bird and possum proofed; there are companies who provide this service which appears to be mesh installed to cover the gap between panel and roof.
Does anyone have any experience with this issue and any advice/recommendations to offer?


Whether it’s good luck or ….
Our solar panels have no protection from birds nesting or possums moving in (5 years old). We do have a rural setting with acres of surrounding native vegetation, wildlife, possums and birds. There are no feral pigeons or starlings or …. common in some more urban settings. Neither do our neighbours many of whom have solar PV have issues. Some have Aussie Swallows. Even they prefer to nest under eves or in roof spaces rather than under the panels.

Have you looked to your nearer neighbours who also have solar PV? Do they have issues?

Note, in part I can attribute the regular presence of pythons as one reason our roof is free of boarders. Python patrol aside, if you mesh be sure to confirm the material used is compatible with your roof if it is metal and the alloy racking used for the PV panels. Dis-similar metals can create corrosion problems.


We are the same. No issues with possums traversing the roof regularly.

Maybe one has to be very unlucky…or need to the services when a possum decides to be cooked under panels on a hot day.

I would wait until there is a problem.


Thank you both mark_m and phb for your answers. We do have resident ringtail possums living in an artificial drey under our eaves (this was our remedy to them trying to nest behind our internet connection box!) and they cross the roof several times a night. One youngster managed to find his way through the wire netting around our chimney vent, and made a surprise landing down the chimney pipe into our wood fire heater (fortunately not whilst lit!). Hence we are a little nervous that their curiosity may get the better of them and don’t want a fried possum trapped under the panels. I appreciate your reassuring experience and advice!


We have resident possums as well, living in trees around the house. In trees and the shed (which have been kicked out).

Maybe if you are concerned, give them an attractive palace to live in. In Brisbane we has a possum box in one of the tree which became the ‘possum lodge’ and ensure that the house (or panels) weren’t part of their residence. In Tassie we have enough habitat that we haven’t provided additional ones for them.

Possums are also territorial, so once they find a good house, they are unlikely to let their neighbours move in.


Ours have a lovely palace complete with climbing ropes (another solution to stop them using our internet cabling) under the eaves in a very sheltered position. They’ve been there since 2019 and we enjoy the close up views from the kitchen windows, especially when they piggyback their young along the ropes. The drey is made according to instructions on a wildlife rescue web page, and now looks considerably more scruffy than it did on the first day shown here, complete with possum checking it out, and a few days later, by which time there were two!
Unfortunately we don’t have a suitable tree for relocation, and while there is a natural drey in a large melaleuca next door, that tree is destined for the chop…


It sounds like a con to me, or should I say scam these days. Someone wants to sell you something you dont need. I have solar panels and possums and birds. Even if they did want to nest under the panels I cant see how it would cause a problem…

You wouldn’t be concerned they could damage the panels/components?
I don’t think it’s a scam; it was one of our potential solar panel installers providing quotes who floated the idea, and not him selling them. He recognised that we do have lots of birdlife and small (and inquisitive) ringtail possums who have all previously found their way down our meshed-over chimney flue…

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Thinking further, if one lives in an area with a lot of trees, something to consider may be buildup of leaves on any installed mesh. This build up could result in water pooling on the roof, resulting water leaking into the ceiling/house causing water damage.

I would want guarantees from any mesh installer that this wouldn’t occur. I suspect guarantees won’t be given, but advice that regular maintenance to remove leaves is required. This then challenges why mesh should be installed as one could do regular maintenance without mesh (and its cost) to remove any possum nests if and when they form.


Yes @phb, agree completely re problems with leaves becoming trapped in the mesh. When we moved into our home, the previous owners had installed mesh gutter guards. They were always full of twigs and leaves and were such a pain in the bum to clean out that we removed them - naked gutters are so much easier to clear.
We asked the company that supplies the panel guards for a photo and it does appear to be a stainless steel mesh which I think has potential to cause more problems than it may prevent…


We have had solar panels on our roof for about 17 years. We have never had an issue with birds or possums. We have plenty of both in our area. Occasionally we get pigeons getting in underneath, looking for somewhere to nest maybe? They don’t do any harm. The panels are close to the roof though - so maybe if they stood further than about 7cm from the high bits of the iron roof, there might be an issue?


that is brilliant! We have possums getting into our garage and knocking stuff off shelves onto the cars. They have found a few good hide holes in there, but the simple double hanging basket thing outside instead could really work. Now to work on keeping the little buggers out of the veggie patch.


Thanks for sharing your experience. I believe our panels will sit approx.10cm above the roof, just a nice amount of space for wildlife! Interesting re your pigeons - we have lots of bronzewings which sit on the neighbour’s flat roof; hopefully they will not be tempted to nest under our panels. I guess regular inspections will help.
Here is a link with instructions for a drey for ringtail possums (brushtails like roof cavities etc and a nesting box would be better): https://wildcareaustraliainc.wildapricot.org/resources/Documents/ERS/ERS%20-%20Ringtail%20Possum%20Dreys.pdf

The only way I can see that your wild life could damage your panels would be if they chewed the wiring but that should be in conduit. We have 2 possum species here, brush tailed and sugar gliders, and numerous birds, all of which nest in our garden and nest boxes. We have been here for more than 8 years without any indication that any of them want to nest under our solar panels. I cant see why they would want to but if they did it would only involve leaves and grass etc. and there is nothing under the panels to anchor a nest to. Also if possums have to cross a space on the ground to get to the roof they are very unlikely to nest there as they are much more vulnerable to predation on the ground. I’m sure mesh would collect plenty of leaves etc. which would be a fire hazard if not removed. The animals that could contact your panels are not likely to damage them, except possibly, for cockatoos, but we have them here too and they’ve never been a problem. The animals cant eat any of the components and they would not be like kangaroos jumping on them. The panels are or should be rated for hail of a certain size.

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Thank you @extinct for your thoughts and experience.
I guess I am nervous about any possible risk of either fire or damage to the panels from a possum (or bird) frying itself! Our resident ringtails previously tried to nest in the small gap between our internet connection box and the wall. We have given them a much better home (see photos above) and they use trees and the roof to travel, but their offspring each year seek new homes. I am perhaps equating the space beneath the solar panels with the space behind the internet box, though I doubt they would try to nest directly on the roof, and am very reassured that you and others have not had issues. (And yes, I definitely don’t want mesh anything on the roof - the mesh gutter guard we inherited with the house was a nightmare to clean.)

If possums are using trees and your roof to travel that says that the trees are way too close to the house and your fire risk is far more worrysom than anything wild life can do, even if 'roos can get on your roof.

Nothing is impossible!
What’s most likely?
Reports of fires caused by solar PV systems are usually attributed to faulty installations or equipment failures. The following suggests how often, and what to watch out for.

The open field large scale solar farms which can cover hundreds of hectares may even allow animals to graze the grass below. The installations are designed and constructed to insulate the higher voltages associated with the PV panels from the surrounding environment. If there is an animal that might be a concern look to the pest rats delivered on board His Majesty’s ships in the First Fleet etc. They are well known to gnaw on insulation of some types of electrical cabling.

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Again, if trees are close enough for possums to get to the roof directly your fire risk is far greater than anything any wildlife can do and far more important and urgent to deal with. Worrying about possums is like worrying about the colors of the deck chairs on the Titanic.

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Since we live in a heavily treed area, we are fully cognisant of and accept the general fire risk. The trees the possums use are not overhanging; they leap between the trees and the roof. We did have an overhanging tree removed today in readiness for solar panel installation.

Well cockatoos most certainly ruined our pool solar roof heating system. They pecked holes into and we had water spraying all over the roof. Not funny. That was my n Fig Tree Pocket, part of Brisbanes western suburbs

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