Birds can be a problem for homeowners with solar panels. This is because birds tend to see the shiny surface as a great place to land and perch, which can cause problems for both birds and homeowners.
In this guide, we will discuss how birds damage solar panels, what you should do if birds are damaging your solar panels, and other information about birds that will help you take care of your solar panels.
Can Birds Damage Solar Panels?
Birds are known to cause damage around the home, but birds causing solar panel damage is not something homeowners think about. However, birds can often lead to issues with solar panels and should be taken into consideration when looking at your own installation.
From our research we have found the most common problems caused by birds are:
- Birds perching on top of solar panels cause scratches or scuffs on the surface where they peck and they can leave dirt behind which reduce the effectiveness of the solar panel.
- Birds nesting under your solar panel system can lead to corrosion due to bird droppings becoming trapped around the frame supports. This will eventually void any warranty you hold with your installer.
- Birds start pulling out insulation to build their nest which leads to other problems inside the roof space such as fires caused by electrical faults that go undetected.
- Birds can fly into the glass on the photovoltaic cells. This can cause cracking in the panel which reduces its efficiency and can lead to further issues of water leaks if it goes unchecked.
If birds are causing damage to your solar panels, they should be removed as soon as possible with the assistance of a professional contractor.
By removing birds and nests in a safe and responsible manner you can avoid these problems and ensure your solar panels are working efficiently.
How Can I Tell that Birds Are Nesting Under Solar Panels?
The first thing to do is observe the birds in your area, especially during nesting season (spring). If birds are nesting near your solar panels it should be quite obvious.
If you cannot see them then these 3 signs can confirm birds nesting under your solar panels:
- You will mostly notice bird droppings accumulating on or underneath the solar panel system as birds like to build their nests in dark and warm places.
- The birds will also make a lot of noise while building their nest which you can often hear from inside your home or the attic space.
- Another sign birds are nesting under solar panels is when insulation starts being pulled out of the roof space, birds will need to build their nests with this material.
If you do not see any birds then it shouldn’t be too hard to get rid of any nests already built. Nests can be easily removed with a rake or a broom. Do it as early in the morning as possible and the birds should not return to their nests.
How Do I Stop Birds from Nesting Under Solar Panels?
If birds have already built their nest and laid eggs underneath your solar panel system it’s important not to disturb them or try moving the nest on your own. Disturbing birds, while they are incubating, will only cause more harm than good and put both yourself and the birds at risk.
It’s best to contact an experienced contractor who understands how to work around birds and the nests during nesting season.
If birds are nesting in your solar panel area and have not completed their nest or laid eggs yet, we have a few handy tips that can help stop them from continuing their plan:
- Remove any surrounding vegetation or bushes under the solar panels because birds like to build their nests in these areas
- Use bird spikes to cover the area under solar panels and birds will not land there
- Make sure your roof is clean and free of debris because birds like to build their nests in areas with little twigs and dirt. You can also use a weed eater or leaf blower for this task if you don’t want to climb up on the roof.
- Apply a sticky glue to cover any potential nesting spot birds may like. Birds will not land there and they won’t be able to build their nests!
- You can also use bird wire or netting to cover any potential nesting areas. This blocks birds from landing and allows for them to find another nesting spot.
If you have tried everything to remove the birds from your solar panel system, but they keep coming back it could be because there is a lack of food in their natural habitat as this can affect birds’ migration paths.
Please note that birds are protected by law (you should report these birds if you see them nesting under solar panels) and birds are beneficial especially in the summer when they eat insects. No matter what your decision is, you should always act humanely!
How to Clean Bird Poop Off Solar Panels?
When solar panels are clean they work more efficiently and solar panel systems can last longer. Birds often build their nests in dark, warm places such as underneath solar panels which makes cleaning bird droppings off solar panels an easy task.
First, you need to remove any twigs or debris from the area under your solar panel system using a broom or rake. Cleaning early in the morning when birds will not return is best!
Next, use a mild detergent and warm water to remove the bird droppings from your solar panels. The solar panel surface must be clean and free of any dirt or debris before you start cleaning.
It is important that no soap residue remains on solar panels after washing them because it can limit solar energy production by creating an insulating layer over the glass which prevents heat absorption while also attracting dust particles.
If this occurs, use distilled vinegar instead of dishwashing liquid to wash your solar panels.
Rinse thoroughly with water once finished or if there are stains left behind try using concentrated white household vinegar diluted with four parts water for tough stains!
Then rinse again until all soapy residue has disappeared followed by another thorough rinsing in plain water.
Do Birds Sit on Solar Panels?
Yes, birds do sit on solar panels. It is a common occurrence, and this can be annoying if the solar panels are producing less power as a result of it.
There isn’t much you can do to prevent birds from sitting on solar panels other than making your solar panel system less appealing or interesting for them by using bird deterrents such as decals, wire mesh, spikes, etc.
These don’t have an impact on the efficiency of solar cells but may help reduce some damage caused by birds due to their weight being placed onto them during perching.
Please note that these methods will only work in certain cases depending on how thick your solar cell wafer is – there must be enough space between each individual component for things like spikes and wires to fit through.
Any solar cells with an efficiency of less than around 20% cannot be repaired if bird droppings affect the solar cell and you will need to replace them.
This is because solar panels become more efficient after a few months in use, but this means that anything on top of the wafer during this period reduces overall energy output over time – especially when it rains or snows which can wash away any residue that has built up on solar panel covers.
Are Solar Panels Harmful to Birds?
Solar panels are not harmful to birds. They can live under solar panels or on top of them without any issues.
A solar panel system will only harm birds if it has high solar voltages. However, this is not common with solar panels installed in the United States and other countries that use 240 volts or lower.
In fact, solar panels can even be beneficial to birds by providing shelter from strong winds and precipitation as well as a source of food which includes insects living on them.
They also provide perch areas for small songbirds like sparrows, warblers, finches, and chickadees who eat seeds beneath them while they are off their nests eating during fall migration periods when insect prey is scarce.
When nesting season comes back around next year these same species return to benefit once more from solar arrays acting as energy-efficient bird feeders!
So solar panels are not harmful to birds at all!
Birds can cause problems for solar panel owners. Solar panel systems should be installed away from trees or other areas that birds might inhabit. Looking at their flight patterns before settling on an ideal location for them is always beneficial.
Birds can damage and reduce the effectiveness of your solar panel system in a number of ways and continued solar panel maintenance and solar cell cleaning is highly recommended to prevent further cumulative damage.
However, solar panels themselves are not harmful at all and can even increase the health of birds who use them for shelter and food which includes insects living on solar arrays as well as seeds beneath them during fall migration periods when insect prey is scarce.