Installing solar panels on your home’s roof is a great way to reduce your annual energy costs and offset some of your carbon footprints. But investing in solar products is not cheap, and from the time of installation, you need to protect your investment.
Solar systems on a roof don’t generally require tons of maintenance, but if birds or other pests find a way under them, you could be facing some serious issues. One or two birds passing by your solar panels will often not cause any issues, but if solar panel protection options aren’t installed, you could end up with pigeon problems.
Do Birds Like to Nest Under PV Panels?
A solar array is a nice spot for birds to hide and build a nest. Pest birds like pigeons build nests under solar panels because it is a shady spot away from the sun and protected from extreme weather and predators. Other factors also contribute to how attractive your entire array is to pigeons and other pest birds.
Flat roofs are sure to attract many more birds than sloped roofs. Solar panels are more easily and more cheaply installed on flat roofs as well. If you have flat roofs and choose to install solar panels, you will need to work hard to keep birds at bay.
Food sources near panels will keep birds around and increase the likelihood of them ending up underneath your solar system. Pet food and nesting material will keep pigeons hanging around your house. Improperly stored or dirty trashcans and bird feeders can attract even more pest birds to your home and risk a nest under your panels.
How to Keep Birds from Living Underneath Solar Power Systems?
There are several good options to use to help rid the undersides of your solar panels of bird nests. Whether you need to block birds, make it uncomfortable for them to walk, or scare them off. Whatever method you choose, you will need to stay on top of it because solar panel bird proofing is a necessary action.
These high-quality plastic and metal spikes are a great addition to keep birds off of buildings and structures. Bird spikes under solar panels and on nearby rooftops can keep birds away. They will try to build nests but find the strips too uncomfortable to walk or roost on.
Bird spikes are excellent and prevent bird droppings from accumulating on your solar energy systems, which can lead to malfunctions or reduced energy capacity. Spikes should be installed correctly as there is a danger of them being knocked off a roof, so have a professional company install them if you are unsure how.
Metal galvanized wire mesh is the best solution to keep birds out of the critical components of your system. While it is one of the more expensive pigeon protection systems, it is easy and safe to install with clips that attach neatly to an array. Most bird control professionals recommend bird mesh as the most effective method of keeping pests out.
Wire mesh is extremely durable and can handle weather wear longer than other bird exclusion options. Bird mesh options are generally offered when solar panels are installed and can usually be rolled into the financing options with the most reputable installation companies.
Plastic bird nets like the ones in the garden can be used under solar panels and work just as well at keeping out pigeons. Bird net does not last as long as wire mesh and will need to be inspected every few years to ensure there are no rips or entryways for pests. If any holes are discovered, repair them immediately.
Bird net needs to be installed carefully, as attaching things to a solar panel can void a company’s warranty. Make sure to talk to professional solar panel installers before trying to birdproof on your own. Also, make sure no existing birds or debris will be trapped under the panels by the newly installed nets, or that could lead to other serious issues.
Decoys of Predatory Birds
Plastic owls and other decoys of birds of prey can keep pest birds away. Stationary decoys will not scare pigeons away for very long. You will need to move the simple plastic birds around to keep the pests guessing.
Automatic, wind-assisted, and sonic noise-making predatory bird decoys can be used to increase the effectiveness. Owls’ heads can swivel with the wind, and raptor sounds can drive away nesting birds. Make sure to combine sound and sight deterrents with physical barriers with nets and spikes to keep all pests away from your panels for good.
Other Pests That Live Under Solar Panels
Birds and pigeons can be a serious problem when they get on your roof, but they are not the only pests that seek refuge under solar panels. Lots of other pests travel along our roofs and may stop and nest or burrow under our panels. The more animal activity under the panels, the more likely that something will be damaged and need replacing.
|Nests, bird droppings
|Bird Mesh, spikes, and decoys
|Squirrels and Rodents
|Nests, chewing on equipment and cables
|Bird mesh or netting and predatory bird decoys
|Wasps and Hornets
|Nests and damage to electrical components
|Bird Mesh and pest repellents
|Flies and Bugs
|Nests, damage to electrical systems
|Bug repellents and clean all debris around panels
Birds will nest under panels if they can reach them. Pigeons and other birds that spend time on your roof will seek the shade protection of unsealed panel bottoms. Birds bring a lot of organic material under your panels and can contribute to other pest problems.
Bird droppings on the panels can reduce their effectiveness and create dangerous conditions. Diseases in bird feces can become airborne and represent a health hazard if left uncleaned. Aggressive pigeons may head butt and peck panels to challenge reflections and cause scratches and other issues.
Squirrels and Rodents
Bird nests quickly lead to rodents moving under your panels. Rodents are dangerous because they chew and make nests out of anything they can get their teeth on. The cables running out of panels are vulnerable to rodent bites. Damage to these wires can be very expensive and cause shortages and potentially fires.
Keeping the area under the panels clean and free of debris discourages rodents to occupy those areas. Predatory bird decoys work well to keep pests from stopping on your roof long enough to cause problems. Make sure to remove food sources when dealing with rodent problems around your panels.
Wasps and Hornets
These guys are extremely aggressive and can build big hives and nests under your panels. The high location and security of the panels make them ideal places for wasps and hornets. Make sure to inspect wasp nests carefully, as they will chase you if you bother them.
Once you are certain that you have wasps or hornets under your panels, call a professional pest control company to safely deal with the live bees. After the bees are removed, install mesh and bug repellents to keep any new wasps away.
Flies and Bugs
A build-up of organic debris or water drainage issues can attract bugs to areas of your roof covered with panels. These areas can offer shelter and food sources for bugs and flies. Sometimes an animal gets stuck under the panels and will perish, which will attract flys and maggots under your panels.
Bugs like ants can work their way into other electrical components of your panel and chew on wires and connectors. The shortages could lead to expensive system damage and even dangerous fires. Keep panel areas clean and free of dirt and debris to reduce bug infestations.
Problems PV Panel Pests Cause
Photovoltaic Panels are great for the environment but only when they are working at full capacity. Any pests living on or near your panels will make them less effective. Nesting and other materials under panels can drastically reduce airflow.
The solar cells on panels are only able to convert light to energy at certain temperatures, and pest materials under the panels can raise temperatures to levels that make conversion rates drop. Keeping panels and the area around them very clean is important.
Animal waste and bedding can also end up in drains or clogging water paths. These blockages could lead to water damage at panel joints or where it attaches to the rails. Keeping pests out from under panels greatly reduces water issues for solar panels. Pest barriers and deterrents will help extend the life of your panels tremendously.