The Ants Go Marching In…To the Inverter: Identifying and mitigating pest intrusion risk on solar assets


Of all the many risks a solar plant faces, the smallest risks may cause the biggest problems. As solar plants are built in novel environments throughout the US there is an increased risk of location-specific pest issues. This ranges from moth infestations in Texas, mice making homes in transformers in Massachusetts, and yes, ants making their way into inverters.

Once these pests make it into the site equipment they can cause internal damage by clogging exhaust fans, chewing wire insulation, or causing faults between energized equipment. The relatively warm and dry environment of these enclosures makes them an attractive location for pests to seek refuge from the external environment.

Common Culprits:

Insects: These often very small invaders can find entry into the smallest gaps in site equipment. Moths, spiders, ants, wasps etc. can gain entry and cause internal issues such as clogged exhaust fans or building nests around critical components.

Rodents: These warm-blooded mammals love to make their homes in warm equipment enclosures. They also have a taste for conductor jacketing that they use to build their nest. Rodent infestation can lead to arcing, thermal faults, and damage to internal components.

Amphibians: Yes, even frogs enjoy a warm place to rest. Frogs and other amphibians have been known to enter small holes and cracks in solar equipment and can lead to clogged exhaust intakes and can be even more troublesome and messy when exhaust fans are involved.

Mitigating the Risk:

Sealed Enclosures: Implementing sealed and pest-resistant enclosures for solar equipment can be an effective preventive measure. These enclosures should be designed to keep out insects and rodents while allowing for proper ventilation to prevent overheating. Components that may coincidentally come into contact with pests should be designed and built to withstand moderate exposure.

Regular Inspections: Scheduled inspections and maintenance routines are crucial for detecting and addressing pest intrusion early on. Professional technicians should inspect the interior components for signs of infestation and clean out any nests or debris.

Professional Services: Consult a pest prevention service who can survey the site and implement an appropriate mitigation strategy.


As solar energy continues to grow into new geographies, pest prevention is becoming a key risk mitigation strategy. Solar equipment should be installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions and sealed from any locally present pests. If a pest intrusion problem is present, consult a professional service for mitigation strategies. By maintaining a regular inspection schedule and following some simple preventive practices, solar plants can avoid costly downtime and repairs.