By Scott Laskey
If there’s one thing we all know about birds, it’s that they poop.
There’s no way around it.
While this might not seem like a big deal in everyday life, it can wreak havoc on your solar panels. While a passing bird or two won’t damage your PV system in the long-run, pigeons nesting under solar panels can and will.
Because of this, it’s essential to keep birds out of your home solar system housing and ensure they take their nests elsewhere.
Unfortunately, this is easier said than done.
After all, solar panels create a nice shady spot that’s protected from the elements and offers convenient rafters and backings for birds to build their nests in. It’s no wonder they love PV systems so much.
If you’re experiencing problems with birds nesting in your solar panels, or you want to prevent it from happening down the road, here are a few things to keep in mind as you move forward, and a video to help you learn about the process:
Want to prevent pigeons under your solar panels? Here are a few helpful steps you can take to convince them to go elsewhere:
Bird mesh is one of the most effective bird-proofing options for home solar systems. Designed to seal the area under your solar panels, bird mesh clips directly to the panels and runs around the edges of the entire array.
While it doesn’t technically “seal off” your panels from the house – air can still move through – it does make it difficult for birds to build nests beneath the panels. If you’re looking for a more cost-effective option, bird netting will do the same thing, with slightly diminished resistance to the elements.
No matter which option you choose, bird nets are low-profile, attractive, and low-impact for both your panels and roofs.
Spikes aren’t the most attractive option for keeping birds at bay, but they work wonders. By making it uncomfortable to roost on or around your solar panels, spikes keep birds from staying around long enough to make a nest or a big mess.
While they’re not incredibly useful on their own, they can be paired with roof netting or a similar set of tactics to keep roofs net-free and solar panels clean.
Plastic birds of prey may seem dated, but they get the job done. If you invest in a fake owl with a head that swivels in the breeze, it can move convincingly and regularly enough to scare birds away. They’re a great pigeon guard for solar panels.
There are also high-tech, automated birds of prey you can install on your roof that will scare pigeons and other birds away for years to come. Again, pair these approaches with bird netting and other tactics to ensure a comprehensive and effective approach.
Birds need something to eat, and making the space around your home uninhabitable for them will help encourage them to go elsewhere. To this end, keep your yard and garden clean and ensure there are no food sources around your home.
This is especially important to consider if you have a flat roof, as that becomes a virtual bird mecca. If you have rubbish bins around your house, store trash under a lid or in tightly sealed plastic bags. Remember also to clean up pet food around the house and store anything birds might want to eat in bins with fitted lids.
Solar panel system maintenance is essential, and keeping your PV array in good working order will make it that much less susceptible to bird nests and droppings. Cleaning your panels regularly, repairing any cracks or mounting issues, and having them professionally serviced are all essential to ensuring long-term functionality.
Pigeon proofing your solar panels is an essential part of keeping them clean and safe for years to come. Follow the tips in this post to keep them in great working order and, don’t forget, you can always call our team if you need additional assistance.
Scott is the founder of Sandbar Solar. With a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from UC San Diego, Scott has an NABCEP certification, and has lectured on and taught many high-tech construction practices and solar PV technical concepts to education institutions, including Stanford University and state-recognized electrician apprenticeship programs. Scott enjoys sharing his knowledge of the evolving renewable energy space and making a difference in his community.
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