Protect Your Solar Panels from Pest Birds
Have you got birds living under your solar panels? If so, you’re not alone; it’s a growing problem being faced by modern homeowners. In our quest to gain cheaper power and do our bit for lower carbon emissions, we now have a new problem… the pesky Pigeon.
But there is a solution: you can install solar panel bird proofing mesh. Here at Grayson’s, we are experts at bird proofing roofs and installing gutter guards. Read on to find out more about protecting your solar panels from pest birds.
The Pesky Pest: Pigeons
The modern Domestic Pigeon (Columbia livia domestica) that has established itself in cities across the world evolved from the species called Rock Pigeon, which originally lived on the sides of cliffs before it was domesticated in ancient times. Some say this domestication occurred as far back as 5,000 years ago, while others argue it was during the time of Ancient Rome.
Regardless of the history, we’re stuck living with this pest throughout our cities and suburban environments.
Why are Pigeons Attracted to Residential Roofs & Solar Panels?
Due to their original natural habitat of living on higher cliff-sides, Pigeons tend to live on higher roofs such as 2 storey and above. It’s rare to find them nesting on single storey roofs; however, they may temporarily roost on lower surfaces before taking flight to their homes up higher.
Most residential solar panels sit at least 100mm above the surface of a roof, leaving a gap large enough for Pigeons to nest underneath. This gap, along with the secure cover of the solar panel, resembles the ledges and platforms of a natural cliff environment where a Rock Pigeon will securely build a nest to breed and raise chicks. Ideally, solar panels would be installed lower down or hard up against the roof surface, leaving no space for birds to nest. But, there actually needs to be a bit of a gap underneath the solar panel to allow air flow.
Unfortunately, it’s not until 12 or 24 months later — long after the solar panel company has packed up and gone — when Australian homeowners look up at their roofs and notice they have a bird problem. In many cases, there’s already significant damage to the roofing and panels caused from the acidic bird droppings; Pigeons are the worst. Gutters can also be completely blocked with bird fouling, nesting debris and even the occasional dead chick.
How to protect your solar panels from pest birds?
Properly-installed solar panel bird deterrent mesh (also known as solar skirting, solar panel skirts, solar mesh, solar panel protection, etc.) will provide a 100% protection barrier from bird entry. The solar mesh skirting must be installed around the entire perimeter of your solar panel setup. This ensures there is absolutely no way through for the pest birds.
At Grayson’s, we use special meshes and fixing clips that will not interfere with the electrical components of your solar panel wiring. We use methods of solar mesh installation and have alternate products available that are suitable for all types of solar panels and roof crevices. And we also offer bird spikes, which make it uncomfortable for birds to roost around your solar panels.
Tips when getting your solar panels installed
In many cases, solar panels are installed on the very edge of the roof. This will unfortunately make it impossible for anyone to safely crawl around the perimeter of your solar panels. When panels are too close to the edge, we will have to clean the gutters and install our bird barriers either from ladders or from scaffolding. If you’re planning the installation of energy saving solar panels, we strongly recommend asking your installers to ensure the panels are at least 100cm from your roof edges.
Here are some things to keep in mind when getting your solar panels installed:
- Unfortunately for homeowners, solar panel systems don’t come with mesh guard kits as part of the package. But to avoid any issues with pest birds, you should arrange to have solar skirting installed on the same day that your solar panels are done.
- Ask your solar panel technician to install the panels at least one metre up from the roof edge, this is to allow other tradies easy access and some room to work on your panels, roof edge and gutters in future.
- If you find out that your neighbours are getting solar panels installed, warn them about the potential for bird issues (and feel free to point them towards this article). Feral Pigeon activity will not be good for the neighbourhood, the new flocks of birds will need food sources and perching ledges between flights, so could damage other houses in your street.
One alternate to solar mesh…
We’re not openly condoning this, but we have seen cat runs constructed that allow the household tabby to access the roof as it pleases. If your pet feline did have ongoing access to your roof and solar panels, it would make it impossible for the pigeons to nest there. A cat walking across your roof at night would be utterly terrifying for Pigeons, and a male cat that is not de-sexed will likely be even more menacing!
For the sake of safe Pigeon relocation, we stress that allowing a cat its first full access to your roof would be best done during daylight hours. If a cat starts accessing the roof in the morning, any resident Pigeons will have the opportunity to pack up and vacate before dark.
Do not underestimate the damage that can be done by Pigeons on buildings. Billions of dollars of damage are done worldwide by Pigeon activity in roofing.
Why bird proof your solar panels?
- By stopping birds from nesting under your solar panels, you massively reduce the build up of bird droppings and debris in your gutters.
- Generate more electricity by having cleaner solar panels that work uninhibited.
- Maintain your solar panel, and preserve your warranty and product guarantee.
- Pigeons carry disease that can be transmitted to humans.
- Ensure your home is a cleaner & healthier environment.
For more information about solar panel protection mesh, call us on 1800 GUTTER today (1800 488 837).