With the price of electricity at unprecedented highs, solar can be a great option to power your home or business. Usually, they have minimal maintenance requirements, but this isn’t always the case if your solar panels have been invaded by pigeons or other birds nesting underneath. In order to prevent damage to your solar panels, you may need to consider pigeon-proofing your solar panels for long-term protection.
Pigeons and solar panels are not a good combination. Like any other animal, pigeons seek protection from predators and the elements and often view solar panels as the perfect place to roost. The massive increase in solar panel installations in the UK has created a new safe haven for these urban birds that they have been only too happy to accept.
This is not only inconvenient for you, but pigeons and other pests can cause permanent damage to your solar panels. Pigeon droppings are highly acidic and can cause corrosion and structural damage. Therefore, pigeon-proofing your solar panel array is a must be done before any problems occur.
To ensure your solar panels are able to perform effectively for years, we’ve put together a handy guide on solar panel pigeon proofing and whether the cost of protecting your solar panels is worth it.
Are there any steps I can take myself to prevent pigeons from nesting on my solar panels?
Before spending money on pest treatment, you can take some steps yourself to try and avoid birds nesting in your solar panels in the first place:
- Keep your garden neat and tidy – Make sure there is no rubbish around, such as twigs or leaves, that pigeons could use as nesting material.
- Secure your bins – This will help keep other creatures out of your garden, such as foxes, and birds will go elsewhere if there’s nothing to eat.
- Remove any pet food that has been left outside – Odours from food attract undesirable visitors to your garden and provide an accessible food supply for birds and other pests.
- Consider purchasing deterrent devices like scare-pigeon methods, which are lightweight decoys that are a cheap and effective way to keep birds away from your panels. Think mock birds of prey, but remember to rotate them every few months, or the pigeons will wisen up and realise they are actually fake.
How can pigeons be kept away from solar panels?
Pigeons will most likely nest under your solar panels before you even realise they are there. The chirping and scratching is an annoyance that can sometimes end up causing sleepless nights. Therefore, it is best to try to prevent the problem from occurring in the first place and keep the birds from getting anywhere near your solar panels.
- Installing bird netting is one of the most effective ways to protect your solar panels from pigeons. The steel mesh clips directly to the panels and runs around the entire perimeter to seal off the space beneath your panels.
- Bird mesh is a non-intrusive and low-impact wire mesh alternative that will not interfere with the operation of your solar panels or cause damage to your roof.
- Installing anti-roosting spikes is another solution. These bird-proof deterrents are widely accessible in garden centres and DIY stores. The spikes can be fitted to any location on a solar panel where a bird could nest or sit. Anti-roosting spikes are a simple solution to reduce the expense of pigeon-proofing solar panels.
- Solar skirts are edging that is placed around solar panels to hide any gaps and prevent access for pigeons and other birds. They are non-intrusive and finish off the solar panels perfectly.
Whether you install the pigeon deterrents yourself or hire professional solar panel-proofing experts, most options are permanent or long-term solutions, so you shouldn’t have to worry about pigeons being a recurring issue with your solar panels.
It should be noted that pigeon and pest deterrents are not designed to injure animals but rather to prevent them from landing, breeding or nesting on or under your solar panels in the first place.
How Can Pigeons Be Removed From Your Solar Panels?
Preventative maintenance is essential for solar panel protection, but persistent pests like birds can obtain entry and inflict significant damage.
If pigeons do find their way in, you can try to remove them yourself or contact a pest management firm that specialises in bird removal from solar panels.
Most companies that offer pigeon proofing or bird proofing as one of their services will include the following:
- Removing any dead birds and existing nests in the area
- Solar panel cleaning and routine roof cleaning
- Using a biocide or chemical solution to get rid of bird mites to eliminate bird droppings and residue on the panels.
- Installing steel mesh or anti-roosting spikes.
- Many private businesses will remove any pigeons nesting in your panels under animal welfare rules. Still, asking how they plan to pigeon-proof your solar panels to avoid further nesting before hiring a team is crucial.
- Choose a provider who holds a BPCA badge and is a British Pest Control Association member.
What is the cost of pigeon-proofing solar panels?
The cost of pigeon-proofing your solar panels will be determined by various factors. For example, if your solar panels are easily accessible using ladders, the cost will be far lower than a professional who must bring in scaffolding. Costs are also affected by the size and number of solar panels placed.
Before committing to a professional service, you should ideally email images of your property and the location of your panels. This will assist the pigeon-proofing company in determining a quote for protecting your solar panels.
The fee will also be determined by if the pigeons have already caused any damage. Pigeons and other pests can damage your roof tiles by resting on them or constructing nests on them, and they can even disconnect wiring. This will raise the cost because it must include the expense of repairing the damage in your estimate.
Pigeon-proofing your solar panels can start at around £300-£350, depending on your requirements. This cost may well be less if you use quick installation methods like bird spikes or decoys, but for services that use more robust pigeon prevention techniques, it may well cost you £750+.
Reputable pigeon-proofing services will ensure the solar panel array is properly protected from pigeons and other pests for many years. The contractor should properly clean your solar panels of droppings as part of their service. Before agreeing to a bird-proofing service, be sure this is included in your quote from the solar panel services company.
Is pigeon-proofing solar panels effective?
Any measures that prevent a pigeon or other bird from gaining access underneath your solar panels are going to be a worthwhile investment. Once the birds are unable to find a place where they can settle, they will be forced to move somewhere else, and that could possibly even be a neighbour’s unprotected solar panels.
Maintaining your solar panels
Solar panels are an investment meant to last for many years, so ensuring they are properly maintained is critical to avoid additional costs later on.
System and panel upkeep is critical. Cleaning your panels and keeping them clean will make them less vulnerable to bird nests and droppings. Also, keep a watch out for cracks or damage and get them serviced regularly to ensure long-term functionality and lower the cost of pigeon-proofing solar panels.
Solar panel bird-proofing summary
Solar Panels have a life expectancy of around 25 years if they are cleaned and properly maintained. However, pigeons can do a lot of damage to your solar panels and your roof, and if they aren’t dealt with promptly, you could end up severely out of pocket due to corrosion, dirt and dander.
It is always best to speak to a solar panel services specialist who can advise you on the best course of action to take to free your roof from pigeons and other birds. The good news is there is a way forward when it comes to stopping pigeons nesting under solar panels.
If you have solar panels, then it is very likely you will need the services of a pest control specialist who is experienced in dealing with pigeons. However, it is always best to shop around and get a few quotes from different solar panel service companies before committing to any bird-proofing work.