You may have read up on the benefits of solar power (saving money and the planet – what’s not to love?), but there are some practicalities that need to be addressed when your solar panels are fitted.
Just like any animal, pigeons will seek shelter from predators and the elements. Unfortunately, pigeons will often use man-made structures to build nests and raise their young, and solar panels can make the perfect site. The huge surge in solar panels being fitted in the UK has made a new home for urban birds.
Not only is this an inconvenience to you, but pigeons and other pests can cause lasting damage to your panels. Pigeon droppings have high acidity, and they can cause corrosion and structural damage. It’s best practice to pigeon proof your solar panels before the problem arises.
If left untreated, pests in panels can cause disruption to the function of your solar panels, not to mention make a big mess! To ensure they function well for years to come we’ve created a handy guide all about pest prevention and the cost to pigeon proof your solar panels.
There are things you can do to pigeon proof your solar panels and prevent nesting before spending money on pest control:
- Keep your garden clean and tidy – Make sure there’s no debris like twigs or leaves that pigeons could use for nesting material lying around.
- Secure your bins – This will also prevent other animals like foxes from entering your garden, and birds will more likely go elsewhere if there’s nothing to eat.
- Clean up any pet food that may have been left outside – The smell of food will attract unwanted visitors to your garden and is an easy food source for birds and other pests.
- Think about purchasing deterrent devices – Scare-pigeon tactics are lightweight decoys, and are a cheap and effective way to keep birds away from your panels – think fake birds of prey just remember to rotate them every few months. Read more about this below.
Deterring pigeons from your panels
You’ll probably hear pigeons nesting in your solar panels before you notice them. The scratching and chirping can cause sleepless nights, and a lot of irritation, so it’s best to try and prevent the problem before it starts.
Installing bird mesh is one of the most effective ways to pigeon proof your solar panels. Designed to seal off the area underneath your panels, the steel mesh clips directly to the panels and runs around the entire perimeter.
Bird mesh is an attractive and low impact option that won’t interfere with the function of your solar panels or damage your roof.
Another option is to install anti-roosting spikes. These deterrents are available in most garden centres or DIY shops. The spikes can be attached to any spot on a solar panel that a bird may want to nest or perch on. Anti-roosting spikes can be an easy way to keep the cost of pigeon proofing solar panels down.
Whether you choose to install the pigeon proofing deterrents yourself or hire a professional, most options are a permanent or very long term solution, so you shouldn’t have to worry about pigeons being a recurring issue to your solar panels.
Note that pigeon and pest deterrents are not intended to harm animals, just to keep them from landing or nesting on the solar panels.
Removing pigeons from your solar panels
Preventative maintenance is key to solar panel protection, but sometimes persistent pests will gain access to them and can cause substantial damage.
If you do find that pigeons have found their way in, you can attempt to remove them yourself, or contact a pest control service who can remove birds from solar panels.
Most pigeon proofing services will include:
- The removal of any existing nests or dead pigeons from the area
- Cleaning of solar panels and the general roof area
- Applying a biocide or chemical solution to remove bird mites, this will also remove any bird droppings and residue from the panels
- Installation of steel mesh or anti-roosting spikes to deter future inhabitants
Many private companies will remove any pigeons you have nesting in your panels according to animal welfare laws, but it’s important to check before you hire a team how they plan to pigeon proof your solar panels to prevent future nesting.
It’s critical to choose a company which is a member of the British Pest Control Association, look out for the BPCA logo.
How much does it cost to pigeon proof solar panels?
The cost to pigeon proof your solar panels will be dependent on a number of factors. If your solar panels can be easily accessed via ladders, the cost will be significantly lower than if a professional has to use scaffolding. The size and number of panels you have installed will also impact costs.
An option is to send photographs of your home and the placement of your panels before committing to a professional service. This will help the company to evaluate the cost to pigeon proof your solar panels and you won’t be surprised when you receive the invoice!
The cost will also depend on whether the pigeons have caused any damage. Pigeons and other pests can disconnect wires by sitting or making nests on them, or in extreme cases, can cause damage to your roof tiles. This will increase the cost as repair to the damage will need to be included in your estimate.
Costs to pigeon proof your solar panels can start from around £300, depending on the service you need. If you choose spikes or decoys this cost may be reduced but for robust prevention, services can cost upwards of £700.
Reputable pigeon proofing services will make sure the area is protected from pigeons and other pests for many years to come, and should also completely clean your solar panels of any droppings as part of their service. Ensure to check this is included within your quote before committing to a service.
Maintaining your solar panels
Solar panels are an investment intended to last for many years, so making sure they are maintained properly is key to ensuring you don’t have to shell out unnecessary costs further down the line.
System and panel maintenance is essential. Cleaning your panels and ensuring they are free of debris will make them much less susceptible to bird nests and droppings. Keep an eye out for any cracks or damage, and making sure to get them regularly serviced will all contribute to long-term functionality, and reduce the cost of pigeon proofing solar panels.
If you’re interested in switching to solar panels, Get in touch with us today and our team of experts will help you to work out the best system for your needs, as well as answering any questions you may have about installation or maintenance.