Solar panels are increasing in popularity across the world as a sustainable alternative to fossil fuel-generated electricity, and Australia is no exception. While there are multiple aspects to consider before choosing to convert to solar electricity and choosing a suitable service provider, bird proofing your solar panels is not likely to be on your list of considerations. However, it is an important factor to think about at the time of installation.
There is increasing awareness and discussion regarding bird deterrents because it has a direct impact on the longevity of your solar panels and their performance. Ask your service provider for bird deterrent options to choose from as they are likely to provide this as an additional service.
Pest birds, pigeons in particular love to roost between your roof and solar panels because it provides a safe and warm place to make their nests away from predators. You will know they are there because of the scratching, strutting and cooing throughout the day and night. Not fun when you want to get some shut-eye.
Bird droppings, feathers and even the occasional dead bird can seriously damage your solar panels and their wiring system. Dirty panels need regular cleaning and maintenance and sometimes may need to be replaced if damaged beyond repair. That’s a heavy price to pay for not thinking about bird proofing your solar panels at the time of installation.
There is also a health risk to turning a blind eye to pigeons roosting on your roof. Pigeon dropping, feathers and carcasses of dead birds dry up and eventually turn to fine dust that can make its way inside your home through crevices and float in the air in your garden, making you ill. Pigeons also carry pathogens like salmonella that can make your family ill.
While there is enough reason to consider bird proofing your solar panels, the question is how. There are several options available, however, installing a bird mesh or netting is probably the most effective and popular choice at the moment. The mesh is secured to the roof to cover the space between the solar panel and roof so birds and other critters can’t creep between to make the gap their home.
Bird spike strips are another way to deter birds away from your solar panels. These spike strips are made to give a gentle prick to the bird’s feet and will not harm the bird in any way. It is a humane way to get the message across to pest birds that your solar panels cannot be used as their social playground. Bird spikes need to be installed right around the panels to be effective after ensuring there are no nests between the panels and the roof.
Other deterrents rely on light reflection to visually deter birds. Reflective mirrors for example can be hung around the area that needs protection. Scare-eyes are another form of visual distraction. The pendant-like reflective device features a large eye in the centre to mimic a predator’s eye.