Pigeons are among the most common birds in urban areas and have adapted well to living alongside humans. They often seek out flat surfaces to perch and nest upon, and solar panels happen to fit the bill quite nicely.
Solar panels are elevated, providing a safe place for the birds to roost away from predators, and their hard, flat surfaces mimic the natural rock formations that pigeons would nest on in the wild.
In this blog post, I will explore more about the reasons why pigeons are attracted to solar panels and how you can prevent them from nesting on your solar panels.
What Causes Pigeons to Be Drawn to Solar Panels?
Pigeons are often attracted to solar panels due to several factors related to these structures. Understanding these factors can help you mitigate pigeon-related issues around solar panel installations.
Shelter and Warmth
Pigeons seek shelter and warmth, especially during colder seasons. Solar panels provide a cozy, warm space underneath them, inviting pigeons to roost. The heat generated by the panels can be particularly attractive to these birds.
Protection from Predators
Solar panels offer pigeons protection from predators like hawks and cats. The enclosed space beneath the panels provides a secure refuge where pigeons can nest and feel safe from potential threats.
Pigeons are prolific nest builders, and the spaces beneath solar panels mimic natural nesting sites, such as cliffs and ledges. This makes solar panels an ideal location for pigeons to build their nests and raise their young.
Easy Access to Food Sources
Pigeons are opportunistic feeders, and solar panel installations often have food sources nearby, such as crumbs from human food or bird feeders. The proximity of food further encourages pigeons to frequent these areas.
Lack of Predatory Deterrents
Many solar panel installations lack deterrents to prevent pigeons from roosting. Pigeons are more likely to settle and establish a presence around solar panels without measures to discourage them.
Pigeons are creatures of habit and often return to familiar roosting sites. Once they discover that solar panels provide a safe and comfortable spot, they will likely continue choosing them as their preferred roosting location.
The Impact of Pigeons On Solar Panels
Solar panels are an excellent investment and an eco-friendly way to harness the sun’s energy to power homes and offices. Nowadays, pigeons are increasingly becoming attracted to solar panels, perching on them and leaving their mark, creating a host of problems for owners.
Here are the impact of pigeons on solar panels and the damage they cause that necessitates maintenance and repair.
The Effects of Pigeons On Solar Panels
When pigeons congregate on solar panels, the following issues can arise:
- Pigeon droppings can cause significant damage to the panels and reduce their efficiency over time.
- The buildup of pigeon droppings can obstruct the panel’s surfaces, reducing the amount of sunlight it receives, hence reducing its efficiency.
- Pigeons can cause extensive physical damage to solar panels by scratching and pecking at them, damaging the protective layers and endangering the internal components.
Pigeon Droppings Damaging Solar Panels
Pigeon droppings’ acidic nature and high uric acid levels can corrode solar panels’ surfaces, causing irreversible structural damage and rendering them unusable. Additionally, the buildup of droppings can block sunlight from reaching the panel’s surface, reducing its efficiency.
The Cost of Maintaining and Repairing
Maintaining and repairing damaged solar panels can be time-consuming and expensive.
- Cleaning costs to remove the pigeon droppings which can be frequent depending on how frequently the pigeons visit the panels.
- Repairs to fix scratches, dents, or holes the pigeons cause to the panels.
- Replacing damaged panels can be costly, ranging from a few hundred to thousands of dollars. The cost is determined by the type and size of the panel that needs replacement.
What Can Be Done to Prevent Pigeons from Damaging Solar Panels?
Preventing pigeons from damaging solar panels requires a combination of deterrent measures and regular maintenance. Here are some effective steps you can take:
Install Physical Barriers
- Bird Spikes: Attach bird spikes or strips to the edges of the solar panels and any potential roosting spots. These spikes make it uncomfortable for pigeons to land and discourage nesting.
- Netting: Use bird netting to create a barrier around the panels. Ensure the netting is tight and properly secured to prevent pigeons from accessing the underside.
- Visual Deterrents: Hang reflective objects or use scarecrow decoys near the panels to frighten pigeons away. Reflective tape or shiny objects like aluminum foil can also be effective.
- Ultrasonic Devices: Install ultrasonic bird-repellent devices that emit high-pitched sounds that pigeons find irritating.
- Remove Nesting Materials: Regularly check and remove any nesting materials that pigeons may bring. Cleaning out nests can discourage them from returning.
- Clean Droppings: Clean pigeon droppings promptly, as they can corrode solar panels over time. Use a mild detergent and water to clean the surface.
Block Entry Points
- Seal Gaps: Inspect the area around your solar panels for gaps or openings where pigeons might gain access. Seal these openings with appropriate materials.
- Pigeon Repellent Gels: Apply non-toxic pigeon-repellent gels to surfaces near the solar panels. These gels create an unpleasant texture and odor for pigeons.
Professional Pest Control
- If pigeon infestations persist, consider hiring professional pest control services experienced in bird management. They can assess the situation and implement specialized solutions.
Modify the Environment
- Limit Food Sources: Ensure there are no bird feeders or food sources nearby that attract pigeons. Properly dispose of food scraps.
Ethical Considerations for Deterring Pigeons
While deterring pigeons from solar panels is necessary, it is important to consider ethical considerations, especially concerning the bird’s welfare.
- Do not harm: deterrent methods should aim to discourage pigeons without causing harm or injury. Avoid using chemicals or poisons that could harm other animals or ecosystems.
- Humanity and pigeons: ensure that pigeons are not trapped or injured while deterring them from solar panels. Respect their right to life.
- Environmental impacts: choose deterrent methods that have the least environmental impact, especially in areas with various local ecosystems.
While bird infestation of solar panels by pigeons is an increasingly common issue, it’s possible to address it with the right solutions. Each solution has a varying degree of effectiveness, and the ethical considerations of the bird’s welfare are critical to deterring pigeons.
Why Aren’t There Any Pigeons in Trafalgar Square?
Why aren’t there any pigeons in Trafalgar Square? It’s a question that has intrigued many visitors. In the past, Trafalgar Square was overrun with pigeons, but authorities decided to implement measures to discourage their presence. Today, due to these efforts, there are no pigeons in trafalgar square, creating a cleaner and more pleasant environment for everyone to enjoy.
Pigeons are drawn to solar panels for various reasons, including warmth, a safe nesting location, and a place to perch while observing their surroundings. The heat emitted from solar panels during colder months makes it a desirable place for them to take shelter, while the smooth surface makes for an ideal nesting spot with protection from predators.
Although solar panels may suffer some damage, there are effective deterrents, such as wire mesh and spikes, to keep pigeons at bay. Additionally, regular maintenance and cleaning can help prevent the accumulation of debris and droppings that can attract pigeons.