If you're a homeowner with solar, and you've got a bird problem, you're not alone. Many owners find birds flocking to their roof can cause issues with their solar system, and decrease their solar investment value over time.
Unfortunately, solar panels make a perfect nesting spot, with low protected shady areas created by the panels, that birds love to rest or build under.
The good news is, there are some steps a property owner can take to limit the number of birds, and the mess and disease that they bring with them.
Birds are attracted to bright colours, and may occasionally even chew or try to remove brightly coloured exposed wiring.
4 Reasons Birds Are an Issue For Solar
Homeowners do their best to keep birds away from their panels for a range of reasons, including:
- Bird faeces shades panels. Solar works by generating electricity from sunlight. The panels are designed in such a way that the entire surface needs to be in full sunlight to be effective and produce energy efficiently. Any form of shading on a panel can stop the entire string, or group, of panels producing power. That's why shading from trees, as well as dirt and ash from storms and fires, can lower solar production. Birds are an issue because their droppings can shade the panels and drastically lower electrical production. One bird can pose an issue, but a group of birds can dirty panels so badly that they no longer work at all, making the solar system worthless until the panels are cleaned.
- Birds are attracted to bright colours. They may chew through or try to remove brightly coloured exposed wiring. This can lead to short circuits and even put the house at risk of a fire.
- Birds can attract other pests. When birds nest under panels, they can also attract other small pests, such as rats, mice, squirrels or possums (depending where you live).
- Birds are often messy, and noisy, and regularly build nests in any available location. Pigeons in particular are known for carrying disease, and causing a great deal of mess for homeowners.
7 Ways to Keep Birds Off Your Solar Panels
Although birds can be an ongoing issue, there are some steps you can take to stop them nesting or dirtying your panels. Some of these measures are preventative, while others are things you can do if birds are already an issue for you.
- Avoid installing anything close to the solar panels that may attract birds. This includes TV antennas, power lines and other high features overhanging the panels.
- Avoid creating garden features that attract birds. This includes bird fountains, feeders and baths.
- Regularly maintain your yard. By keeping your garden neat and with minimal places for birds to build, feed or nest, there'll be less attraction and they'll (hopefully) choose another yard instead.
- Install bird proofing. There are a variety of types of netting that can be installed around the base of a solar panel, stopping birds nesting underneath.
- Silent ultrasonic bird deterrent devices. These devices work by using sound waves that are silent to humans but high pitched and irritating to birds.
- Roof spikes. Although not aesthetically appealing, roof spikes can be very effective in keeping birds at bay. Designed to stop birds being able to land, they're a useful tool to stop flying visitors.
- Install a fake predator. Placing a fake owl, or another type of predator nearby, can be effective in keeping birds wary enough to avoid your home.
Regular Maintenance & Cleaning
Although there are a range of things you can do to protect your property from birds, the most important step you can take to maintain safe and high producing solar panels is to ensure you're regularly cleaning and maintaining them.
Regular maintenance ensures no parts are exposed to the birds or elements, any issues are addressed, and replacements are made when needed.
Regular cleaning means no bird mess, dust, dirt or leaves will lower the production of your system.
Check with your solar provider about the recommended cleaning and maintenance schedule for your system.
Susannah Birch (author) from Toowoomba, Australia on August 09, 2020:
Thanks for the heads up, Ellen, I've fixed it!
Ellen Gregory from Connecticut, USA on August 07, 2020:
Susan, I really enjoyed this article. Interesting information even though I don't have solar panels. I think you want to check Item 1 under "8 Ways to Keep Birds Off Your Solar Panels." Something seems off.
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on August 07, 2020:
We do not have solar panels currently. I never thought about birds becoming a problem. Thanks for the heads up and possible solutions.