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How to Protect Solar Panels from Birds

How to Protect Solar Panels from Birds
03/02/2021

Rooftop mounted solar panels are everywhere these days as businesses and homeowners strive to use sustainable solar technology to generate the electrical power we all need. Solar energy is a clean, efficient power source which is exactly what’s required to combat climate change. But solar panels are not only an excellent, sustainable source of energy, they are also recognised by birds as effective shelters and nesting spaces which is becoming an increasingly challenging problem.

Birds nesting under solar panels is a significant issue throughout the UK with pigeons amongst the worst offenders. The required gap between solar panels and the roof is unfortunately an ideal space for pigeons to build their nests. And unlike most birds, pigeons nest all year round, seeking locations which are safe and sheltered from the weather, to lay their eggs and raise their young. Rooftop mounted solar panels provide exactly what they need.

In some regions, especially coastal, seagulls cause problems for those with rooftop solar panels. Unlike pigeons, gulls like to breed in colonies and once they’ve nested in a particular location they and their young will return, year after year. They build large nests from twigs, moss and grass which can block gutters and potentially cause flooding.

And the problem is not limited to pigeons and seagulls. Migratory birds, such as starlings, might descend on a building, en-masse, taking advantage of the protection provided by a roof-mounted solar panel array. While their stay might be short-lived the amount of mess and damage caused by a large flock of migratory birds can be enormous.

Bird Droppings and Solar Panels Bird droppings are not only an unsightly mess, they also represent a significant health hazard. Pigeon droppings alone can carry over 60 different hazardous diseases and some of these human pathogens can be very serious and potentially fatal. The accumulation of bird droppings on, around and under solar panels is therefore a significant health risk. Heating, ventilation and cooling systems, typically used on commercial premises, can suffer from the impact of bird fecal matter and feathers which present a significant health hazard to those who use the buildings.

Importantly, the impact of bird droppings on the efficiency and life of solar panels is often underestimated. The top ridge of a solar panel makes an ideal perch for many birds which inevitably results in their droppings all over the face of the panel, blocking the sunlight. In some cases the impact has been so great it has made the solar panels virtually useless. Hard, baked-on bird mess is extremely difficult to remove and can cause significant and expensive damage to solar panel installations, including the cabling and connectors.

Bird Proofing Solar Panels Various techniques are widely used for bird proofing solar panels. Traditional techniques typically involve various forms of physical barrier such as netting and mesh. Anti bird spikes are also commonly employed but if these physical barriers are not rigorously installed and maintained then birds will always find a way to overcome them.

It’s important to note that all species of gull are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and the Wildlife (Northern Ireland) Order 1985. Its therefore illegal to intentionally injure or kill a gull or to damage or destroy an active nest or its contents. In Scotland and Northern Ireland it’s also illegal to prevent birds from accessing their nests and in Northern Ireland it’s illegal to disturb any nesting birds.

Ideally, a non-harmful, easily installed, low cost yet highly effective bird deterrent is needed. Bird Free Fire Gel meets all of these requirements.

Bird Free Fire Gel Bird Free Fire Gel, sometimes called Bird Free Optical Gel or simply Bird Free Gel, is an extensively proven, harmless product that prevents all birds from nesting and contaminating solar panel installations and any other areas where birds are not welcome. It has gained a worldwide reputation as a genuinely effective bird deterrent that’s simple to install and very cost effective.

How Does Bird Free Gel Work? It’s important to note that, unlike other types of historically manufactured bird repellant gel, our Bird Free Fire Gel doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals which could poison birds or cause injury to their feet. It’s a natural product that’s entirely safe for birds, animals and humans.

Bird Free Fire Gel exploits the fact that, unlike humans, birds can see ultra violet light. The gel is specially formulated from harmless natural oils and food-grade ingredients to present what appears to be a naked flame to birds, hence the name ‘Fire Gel’. When birds see what appears to be a flame they naturally react by keeping clear, which is why this bird deterrent has an immediate impact. It also has a mild peppermint and black pepper aroma which adds to its deterrence capability as birds don’t like these.

Installation is simple, thanks to pre-loaded dishes, easily deployed around solar panels and other areas plagued by nuisance birds. And importantly, as noted, the deterrent has an immediate effect, causing birds to avoid the area due to the appearance of what looks to them like fire. And Bird Free Fire Gel remains highly effective, without the need for replacement, for many years. There are many examples of installations that have been in place for over 5 years, continuously repelling unwanted birds from perching and nesting.

As well as protecting rooftop solar panel installations Bird Free Fire Gel is widely used around the world by governments, rail authorities, hospitals, port authorities, airports, schools and a wide range of commercial organisations and premises. It is preventing birds from introducing health hazards and causing damage to a variety of structures and equipment including air conditioning and ventilation systems, bridges, telecoms equipment, car parking spaces and much more.

There are now many installations of Bird Free Fire Gel around the world where it has continued to deter nuisance birds for many years in some extremely harsh environments in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the USA. Even in high traffic environments where automobile fumes and other contaminants have deposited a black or dusty film over the gel, it continues to function as a highly effective, reliable bird deterrent.

For more information on  How to Protect Solar Panels from Birds  talk to  Insight Security

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