Bird Proofing Solar Panels

Installing solar panels in your home or business can help you reduce your electricity bills and cut around 1 tonne of carbon per year from your carbon footprint.  

However, solar panels offer a ready-made shelter for birds, especially pigeons.

They’re high on roofs and offer an easy in-and-out vantage point, security from the elements and predators, and the perfect place to nest and raise the young.

While it may initially seem harmless, birds can cause significant problems and damage your solar panels permanently.  

Thankfully, bird-proofing solar panels can help protect your investment from unwanted visitors and ensure your solar panels stay in perfect condition for years.

This guide explores how birds impact solar panels, the types of bird-proofing available, and what you can expect to pay.

Bird Proofing Solar Panels Key Takeaways:

  • Bird-proofing protects your solar panels by preventing birds from nesting beneath them.
  • Birds can damage solar panels’ surfaces and wiring, decrease efficiency, and cause messes that can lead to hazards.
  • Common bird-proofing methods include bird mesh wire, anti-roosting spikes, and solar panel skirts.

What is Bird Proofing?

Bird-proofing solar panels means protecting your solar panels from birds by preventing them from nesting beneath them.

It usually involves constructing a barrier or installing deterrents around your solar panel’s perimeter to prevent birds from accessing the space underneath the panels.

How Do Birds Impact Solar Panels?

It may be hard to believe, but birds can impact your solar panels in various ways. These include:

Damage to Panels

Bird poo, especially pigeon faeces, is extremely dangerous to solar panels. In addition to creating an unsightly mess across your roof, windows, gutters, and the ground below, bird droppings are very acidic.

If the birds defecate on the solar panels, they can block the sun’s rays and erode the surface, rendering your panels ineffective.

Damage to Wiring

Bird droppings can corrode the wiring, connections, and inverters hooked to your system.

If many birds nest under your solar panels, it can lead to large amounts of droppings that are difficult to clean due to the small spaces between the panels and the roof.

Their movements can also damage the wiring and connections. Birds will also scrape, peck, and bite the cables and components of your solar panels and will likely pull and tug on the wiring when building their nests.

Hazards from Messes

Once birds discover your solar panels and decide to make them home, they’ll start building their nests.

Birds can collect debris like twigs, sticks, and leaves and stuff them in the small space under your panels, resulting in various consequences.

Fires can start from the bird nest when it gets hot under the panels. The debris can interfere with wiring and get blown into your gutters by rain or wind, resulting in blockages that can be inconvenient and expensive to repair.

Check out our review of the best solar panels in the UK:

Decreased Efficiency

Birds underneath and on your solar panels and the droppings, dirt, and debris they create can decrease your panels’ efficiency and ability to generate power.

If dirt, bird droppings, leaves, and other debris accumulate on the surface, they obstruct sunlight, leading to partial shading.

Even small shaded areas can reduce the efficiency and output of the entire panel or solar array, with studies highlighting reductions between 2% and 50% after days or months without cleaning the panel’s surface.

Types of Bird Proofing for Solar Panels

Some of the commonly used bird-proofing methods in the UK include:

Bird Mesh Wire

Bird mesh wire is a nonintrusive and popular method for bird-proofing solar panels.

With this method, stainless steel mesh is attached around the perimeter of the panels to prevent birds from accessing the space underneath them.

The bird mesh wire uses clips that attach to your panels. It’s easy to install and remove without damaging the panels or roof.

It’s an effective long-term solution that can keep birds away from your panels while allowing easy cleaning and maintenance.

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Anti-Roosting Spikes

Anti-roosting spikes are a commonly used bird-proofing method that prevents birds from perching and nesting on your panels and roof.

The spikes make the area around the panels uncomfortable and less appealing for birds to land on, discouraging them from gathering on your panels.

Anti-roosting spikes don’t harm the birds and are easy to install, providing a humane, cost-effective solution that protects your solar panels and prevents bird infestations.

Solar Panel Skirts

Solar panel skirts create a protective barrier around the perimeter of the solar panels. The installation creates a physical barrier preventing birds from accessing the space under your solar panels.

Solar panel skirts are usually constructed from durable materials like aluminium or PVC, allowing them to withstand different weather conditions.

Installers paint them to match the solar panels, offering a long-term bird-proofing solution with a seamless look for aesthetic appeal.

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What is the Cost of Bird Proofing Solar Panels?

The cost of bird-proofing solar panels can vary depending on various factors. These include:

  • The size of your solar array
  • The height of your roof
  • The accessibility of the panels
  • The chosen bird-proofing method
  • The extent of any existing damage
  • The cost of labour in your area

For example, it will generally cost around £40-£60 to fit bird mesh wire per panel. It’s usually much cheaper to bird-proof your solar panels during installation.

If you wait until birds have nested and caused damage, you’ll pay more for additional services like cleaning droppings or removing debris, nesting material, or the bords themselves.

Will Bird-Proofing Solar Panels Affect the Warranty?

Your warranty will not be affected if you install the bird-proofing correctly on your solar panels. You should avoid various solutions and practices that can invalidate your warranty.

These include:

  • Solutions that involve drilling the solar panel frames as they can render the warranty void.
  • Solutions that require adhesion to the solar panels using bonding agents or glue.

You should also avoid solutions that involve enclosures, as they can increase the temperature of the solar panels, leading to overheating and reduced performance.

Final Thoughts on Bird-Proofing Solar Panels

Bird-proofing solar panels is essential to protecting your investment from feathered intruders.

It can also give you peace of mind and ensure you maintain the panels’ performance, prevent damage, and get your money’s worth.

Sources and References:

  • https://energysavingtrust.org.uk/advice/solar-panels/
  • https://www.mdpi.com/1996-1073/16/19/6794