Solar Panel Bird Proofing – How To and Cost Estimates

Solar Panel Bird Proofing – How To and Cost Estimates

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If you’ve recently installed solar panels onto the roof of your home or business you know that those panels are not cheap, and making the most of your investment means exploring bird proofing solar panel options. Going solar is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint as well as decrease your monthly utility bill, however they have a large upfront cost. I recently put solar panels of my house in Southern California and now that they are installed I want to make sure that I get the maximum utility out of them as possible and I’m sure you do as well. One of the most frustrating things that can happen to your panels is birds. Though ironically there are solar powered bird fountains that are quite lovely. 

While I like birds as much as anyone else, what I hate is when they land on my solar panels and defecate on them. This can cause issues with solar panels, as it dirties them and may lead to algae and lichen growth. Not only does it drastically reduce the aesthetic quality of the panels, it decreases their efficiency as well, losing you money. Before I dive into the details on the cost of bird proofing your solar panels and what it will cost you, first let’s take a look at some contributing factors to the bird solar panels problem.

Why do birds like solar panels so much?

As one of the biggest problems for someone who owns solar panels, birds can be extremely frustrating to deal with if you don’t take the necessary precautions. But why exactly do birds like to land and nest on solar panels so much? Well, after years of research on this exact topic, experts from Bird-B-Gone have identified three main reasons why solar panels are such bird magnets. 

Top Reason

First, and most obvious is that solar panels provide a nice warm area for the birds. Solar panels are dark to capture as much photovoltaic energy as possible, and this dark color has a greater tendency to heat up and maintain its warmth. Birds are always searching for warm secluded areas to rest and make their nests and solar panels often are the perfect fit.

Second

This leads into the second reason, shelter. Like every other animal on the planet birds need a sheltered location to raise their young, rest, and keep away from predators. Solar panels will often have gaps large enough for birds to nestle themselves in, allowing them to stay protected. In addition to protection from predators, during hot summer months the shade of solar panels is critical for bird to regulate their body temperature and get out of the sun. 

Final Reason

The final reason that birds love solar panels is that it gives them an easy way in an out of their roost. Almost all solar panels are built on roofs giving birds an excellent vantage point and 360 degrees of movement away from their nest should they become the target of a predator. Easy accessibility for the birds is as important as anything else and having a nest that is safe, secure, and accessible is paramount. Now that we know the reasons behind why birds like solar panels so much, let’s move on to what you can do, and how much it will cost to bird proof your solar panels. 

Solar Panel Bird Proofing Options and Costs

Owl On Solar Panel

As with all problems, there are countless ways that you can attempt to stop birds from using your solar panels as their own personal home, however we have come up with the two best options, as well as one supplemental deterrent for you to choose from to help bird proof your solar panels at a relatively inexpensive cost. These solutions are focused around being cost effective, while at the same time being as helpful as possible in bird proofing your solar panels. 

Bird Spikes

The first option that you have is to cover the open areas on your roof with bird spikes. With their fleshy feet birds are particularly sensitive to sharp surfaces and installing bird spikes will make finding a pleasant landing spot much more difficult. Additionally these spike vastly reduce the amount of free space on your roof, leaving less roof for birds to make nests and for a habitat.

Cost

Roof spikes are quite inexpensive and you can get 3 foot long lengths for less than $15. For an average roof, the cost to bird proof your solar panels would be around $200. However these are not the most attractive and we wouldn’t blame you at all if you didn’t want spikes on your roof. Don’t worry, there are more solutions.

Netting or Metal Mesh

Our next solution is a bird net/metal mesh netting. Essentially this net would sit over your solar panels and prevent birds for landing, and getting underneath the panels. This is better than the bird spikes solution as it fully prevents the birds from accessing the panels, however there is a tradeoff due to the higher maintenance required. These can rip or break, which would require a patch to fix or allow access to your panels without you ever knowing something was not working. In my opinion this is a better and more permanent solution than bird spikes but it is more expensive as well.

Cost

You can expect to spend upwards of $300-500 to fully protect your roof with these nets.

Replica Predator

The third solution is more of a supplement to one of the previous, more permanent, solutions, regardless however it will help. This solution is to add a replica predator statue to your roof. While it may seem silly, research has shown that adding a replica predator like an owl to your roof has significantly improved bird repellant. These statues work like scarecrows in a corn field and scare birds away. While on its own this might not work well, birds can figure out a fake owl rather quickly, when combined with other deterring factors that increase the birds confusion, having a replica predator can certainly help make a difference.

Cost

Replica predators are super cheap, and will only cost you $20-30. This is definitely the least expensive and easiest, but also least effective option.

The Best Way to Bird Proof Your Solar Panel

Of these options we believe that the mesh netting option is your best bet if you are looking to bird proof your solar panels. While they are slightly more expensive than the bird spikes, they are much more aesthetically pleasing, safer for the birds, and more effective in keeping the birds away from your solar panels. They complete shut off access to the underside of your solar panels and make the landing spots less desirable. 

Conclusion

Overall, if you are looking for bird proofing solar panel strategies there is really only two good options: bird spikes or mesh/ wire netting. While neither of these options are perfect, in our experience the netting is the better one. It looks nicer, is safer for the birds (spikes can sometimes hurt a birds foot), and it is more effective. It is the better product and we believe it is worth the extra money you will spend on it. As an at-home project both of these things can be completed without any outside help which will save you money, however if you are looking to hire a professional the cost to bird proof your solar panels will probably go up to at least $1,000. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

What does it cost to bird proof solar panels?

Depending on the deterrent method you choose, bird proofing solar panels will cost, on average between $200-500. This price is of course also dependent on the size of your roof and number of solar panels you have. 

Do solar panels scare birds?

Unfortunately no, which is why it is important to bird proof your solar panels before birds show up and start nesting in the crevice’s on your roof. 

How could you bird proof your solar panels?

As stated in the article the two best options for solar panel bird proofing are bird spikes and wire mesh that prevent birds from getting in between the solar panels and the roof. 

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