You probably love your solar panels, right? They sit on top of your roof, working all through the daylight hours to give you electricity and probably a tidy little profit from your feed-in tariff. They’re great, aren’t they?
You’re not the only one who thinks solar panels are brilliant; wild birds also love them. Think about it, they’re slightly elevated above roof level, giving the birds sitting on them an advantage over that lot over there on the roof that doesn’t have panels. They’re also warm and provide a great deal of security for any birds that decide to build their nests and raise their young underneath them.
No-one wants to deprive the birds of a secure place to live and breed, but they really can make a hell of a mess on and under your array. They attract mites, as well as pooing everywhere. A build-up of bird poo can actually cause ammonia and acid corrosion on your panels over time, and even before this happens, the poo deposits can block the panels and stop them working as efficiently as they could.
Then there’s the smell…
You need a deterrent as soon as possible.
Ideally, you should install the deterrents with the array, but you can of course retrofit them as well. One of the best deterrents is a panel skirt, which is a lightweight, UPVC-covered metal mesh that fits around the perimeter of the array. It prevents birds from getting under the panels but doesn’t stop air flow, so it’s business as usual.
Then of course you need to prevent the birds from sitting on top of your panels and pooing all over them. If you’re preventing them from nesting there, you’ll be reducing the chances of them sitting there too, but you can also fix soft plastic spikes to the upper edges of your panel array to dissuade them (in the nicest way possible, of course) from making themselves comfortable.
This should cut down on the amount of guano you have to sort out every year. If you feel guilty for evicting wild birds, do something else for them like installing a water feature so they can get a drink when they come to visit.