Pigeon protection, also known as bird mesh or pest protection, is a guard around the perimeter of a solar array that stops pests (mainly pigeons) from nesting underneath the solar panels. Photovoltaic panels are a perfect location for birds to nest underneath due to the residual heat they produce. Any warm location that is sheltered from the elements makes a perfect nesting area. To most people, this may not appear to be an issue. However, having birds on your roof for any length of time is going to result in debris, natural waste and ultimately generate a lot of noise.
Different Types of Protection
There are several types of pigeon protection on the market. As with any product, there is a low-end solution, mid-range offering and a higher-end product. The most common protection method used is a wire mesh that is secured to the perimeter of the pv system. The mesh sits flush with the outer-edge of the panel and extends down to the top of a roof tile. An example of one of the higher-end products would be a solution from SolaSkirt. SolaSkirt are a UK based company that manufacturer and sell sheets of material that attach to the outer-edge of the panel and extend down to the top of the roof tile at an angle. The sheets of material are solid and result in a sleek, minimalistic outcome. The flip side to SolaSkirt is that is is very expensive. Pigeon protection dos and don’ts.
The majority of solar panel installers will not offer or install bird protection. The pest guard is installed once the panels are mounted to the roof, and depending on space around the array, can result in several hours additional work to install. Companies that do install pigeon protection commonly opt for a silver wire mesh. All mesh solutions result in the same outcome however the outdated silver mesh is installed without the consideration of the colour of modern panels. Modern panels are mainly all-black in colour with black back sheets.
Pigeon protection dos and don’ts.
Pigeon mesh should sit flush with the top of the photovoltaic module and on the outer edge, extending down to sit on top of the roof tiles. The mesh should not end before it reaches the top of the roof tiles.
The mesh should NOT be secured to the pv panels by screws. Screwing through a Solar Panel voids the modules warranty. Instead, specially designed clips that secure the mesh to the underside lip of the panel should be used.
Pest protection should be installed around the entire perimeter of a pv system to ensure no pests can get under the system. For obvious reasons, only the outer edge needs protecting.
So, do I need pigeon protection on my system?
Choosing whether or not to have pest protection installed and what type of protection to have fitted is determined by several factors. Different areas of England and Wales experience different levels of bird activity. If you live in a more remote area in the countryside, the likelihood is that you get more birds in and around your property compared to a largely built-up area. The contradiction to that is that pigeons (solar panels main culprit for pests) can be found in built-up areas. To future proof a system and ensure no disturbances from pests, it’s recommended to have pest protection installed. If you are confident that no pigeons live in or around your property, then you do not have to have pest protection installed.
The difference in choosing the type of product to have installed ultimately comes down to price.