Solar Panel Bird-Proofing

Solar Panel Bird-Proofing – Is it worth doing?

Solar Panel Bird Proofing
Solar Panel Bird-Proofing

Solar Panel Bird-Proofing – Introduction

Solar panels offer a ready-made shelter for nesting under combined with a high vantage point from which to survey the surroundings.

If there’s such a thing as estate agency in bird world, and in particular pigeon world, it’s easy to envisage the blurb on the sale particulars for a nest under a well-located 4kW array.

Of course the pigeon’s gain is the system owner’s loss. Nesting birds cause problems for solar panels and increase the need for general building maintenance

Luckily the industry has now developed well-proven solutions for solar panel bird-proofing: solar mesh and solar bird spikes.

Birds Nest Under Solar
Bird Nests Under Solar Panels

Solar Panel Bird-Proofing – Why are nesting birds a problem for solar systems?

Birds nesting under or around the panels may

  • damage cables;
  • damage panels;
  • deposit droppings and other debris on the panels, thus reducing output;
  • present a fire risk if they nest under the panels;
  • block the roof’s drainage system with droppings, nest materials, food debris and feathers potentially causing roof leaks, whilst providing a nutrient rich environment from which vegetation can grow;
  • present a health hazard to any contractor working on the roof (contact with bird droppings can cause infection to humans).

Solar Panel Bird-Proofing – Birds can Damage Solar Panels

Worryingly, birds (and in particular pigeons) can damage your solar panels, and ultimately impact your solar energy generation! Pigeon poo is very acidic, which can erode connecting wires and eventually even damage the surface of your solar panels. Their guano can also spread nasty diseases, such as CryptococcosisHistoplasmosis and Psittacosis, by inhaling dust during cleanings.

From this it is clear that the maintenance cost of the system and the roof will be increased if birds start nesting under the panels.

Solar Panel Bird-Proofing – Protecting your solar panels

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 or spikes, on all sides of the array. Note that solar panel protection is harmless – it simply encourages the birds to hang out somewhere else.

Products should be installed that are specifically designed for solar panels, firstly to ensure they are effective and secondly to ensure that the panel warranty isn’t voided

Our pigeon protection recommendations are as follows:

Solar Panel Bird-Proofing – Solar panel mesh

The mesh 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.

Bird Protection Mesh
Solar Pv Bird Protection

The system is easily removed if necessary for maintenance.

The system is also very hard to see, even from close up.

Solar Panel Bird-Proofing – Bird spikes

There are many bird spikes on the market, but they tend to be designed with general deterrence in mind, rather than solar panel deterrence.

Defender Bird Spike

The most suitable spikes we have found are the Defender® Solar Panel Bird Spikes.  These are high quality stainless steel UV stabilised spikes, cleverly designed to mount without touching the panels (thereby eliminating any possible warranty issues), whilst still preventing birds from getting under the panels.

The system combines 33.3cm spike strips with anti-topple stabilisers which are positioned under the solar panels. There is a choice of spike/post heights: 75mm, 100mm, 125mm and 150mm.

Solar Panel Bird-Proofing – Cost

For a standard domestic Solar PV system (3 to 4kW), the cost of bird-proofing for solar panels is typically in the region of £400-£450 plus VAT when installed with a new solar PV system. If you think that this is expensive then we have had clients that have not had bird proofing done and over a number of years the damage this has caused has meant a complete new roof along with the expense of lifting solar panels and refitting.

Renew-Able Solutions will always include Bird Proofing on all quotes for new systems as we feel this is an essential part of protecting your investment long term. Over the years we have had an increasing number of solar pv owners asking to retro-fit bird protection which is a lot more expensive as you will have scaffold costs to include so we always urge customers to do it right from the beginning.

If you need Bird proofing for your solar panels please do this at the time of installation as its a small price to pay for peace of mind and long term protection for your investment.

Please get in touch if you need bird proofing added to your existing Solar PV and we will happily offer to quote you.

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