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Bird-proofing solar panel arrays

One of the more unpleasant aspects of our job is in dealing with bird infestations underneath roof mounted solar arrays. The unwelcome guests are usually pigeons, although we have also attended the odd infestation of gulls or jackdaws.

Why do pigeons and gulls roost under solar panels?

The majority of solar arrays do not have any problems with pigeons or gulls.

The only reason for the presence of pigeons or gulls is the nearby availability of food. Pigeons and gulls will eat almost anything and if you a neighbour or a local food business provides them with a regular source of food they will find a place to roost. This place will usually be overlooking the food source. Food sources include deliberate feeding, surplus food from feeding of outdoor pets (e.g. rabbits, chickens or ducks), garden bird feeders and exposed food waste.

Electrical connections buried in pigeon faeces

Detritus under solar array from pigeon infestation

If you have pigeons nesting underneath your solar panels then they will very quickly create a lot of mess. Any connectors that aren’t secured to the mounting system will become buried in their faeces and will usually cause isolation faults on the inverter, resulting in loss of yield.

The detritus from nesting pigeons will wash down the roof and block up the gutters and provide a fertile place for vegetation to grow. Their nests contain mites which can enter the home via the loft. Pigeon cooing can be quite noisy, and their movements can often be heard, particularly in converted lofts.

What can be done about these infestations?

Early action is essential to minimise the mess and potential damage to your solar array and your home.

The first measure with any pigeon or gull infestation should be to remove the source of their food if possible. If the birds find that their regular source of food has disappeared they may move on.

We can remove your solar panels, clear the mess and inspect and replace any faulty connections. We then re-fit the panels and attach a mesh around the perimeter of the array using clips that do not damage the frames of the solar panels. We may also fit anti-roosting spikes to parts of the roof where appropriate.

Pigeon mesh screwed to the panel frames (not by us!) invalidating the warranty

Mesh affixed properly using non-penetrating clips that do not damage the frames

Beware companies that fasten mesh to solar panels using self-drilling screws – this will invalidate your solar panel warranty. Also beware firms that just fit the mesh without sorting out the damage and faults underneath the panels – you’ll end up paying someone else to do the job properly later on.

Once your solar panels have been properly bird-proofed the pigeons will soon find a new place to live. Contact us for your quotation today.