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Strategies for Preventing Bird Damage on Solar Panels

Bird Deterrence in Solar Panel Cleaning: Strategies for Preventing Avian Damage

At the same time feathered friends and possible foes, birds bring both charm and challenges around solar panels. Regular cleaning and maintenance are crucial to keep the solar panels clean and efficient. Discover how professionals clean the mess from birds and how they deter avian visitors.

Why birds are attracted to solar panels

Birds are attracted to solar panels for several reasons:

  • Warmth

Solar panels absorb sunlight and turn it into energy that produces heat. Birds like the warmth of solar panels, especially in the morning, evening, or colder seasons. The warmth from solar panels helps birds regulate their body temperature and feel comfortable.

  • Shelter

The structure of solar panels may become a shelter for birds during difficult weather conditions such as rain, wind, or extreme temperatures. Birds may find refuge under the panels to protect themselves from harsh weather, direct sunlight, or precipitation.

  • Nesting options

The space between solar panels and mounting structures creates sheltered species that birds use for nesting. Birds might use twigs, leaves, and debris to build nests in such spaces. The solar panels are installed up high which protects the nests from ground predators.

  • Perching and roosting

Birds might use the surface of solar panels as perches or roosting spots where they can rest, examine the surroundings and socialise with other birds. The solar panels' surface is flat and elevated and offers a good vantage point for birds to observe everything around them.

What are the detrimental effects of bird activity on solar panels

The detrimental effects of bird activity on solar panels are notable as they decrease the performance and lifespan of solar panels. The ways bird activities impact the solar panels are:

  • Droppings

Bird droppings contain uric acid and some corrosive substances that degrade the solar panels in time. Collected droppings make a layer of grime that lowers the panels' transparency, impedes sunlight absorption and decreases energy production. Bird droppings also create a shading effect which causes hot spots on the panels and uneven energy distribution.

  • Nesting materials

The space between solar panels and the mounting structure is ideal for birds to build their nests. Twigs, leaves, debris, and other nesting materials will block ventilation gaps, and drainage channels, trap moisture and create conditions favourable to corrosion and electrical faults.

Bird nests may become spaces that attract pests such as rodents and insects. They too can compromise the integrity of solar panel installation.

  • Possible physical damage

Birds may physically damage the solar panels through pecking, scratching, and nesting. Sharp beaks and talons may scratch the solar panels' surface and cause cracks or microabrasion. Such damage decreases the solar panels' efficiency. Nesting birds may also dislodge wiring or components within the panels.

  • Soiling and debris

Feathers, twigs, and food remnants are other kinds of debris that birds can bring on the solar panels. Such soiling will also affect sunlight getting to the solar cells and amplify the shading. The energy output will decrease and the panels will need more frequent cleaning.

How do professionals clean solar panels from bird droppings

Professionals clean solar panels from bird droppings to ensure efficient performance for the panels. The steps they take to clean solar panels from bird droppings are:

  1. Take on safety measures

Professionals begin the cleaning procedure by ensuring safety. They put on adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, goggles, and even fall protection gear when the panels are up high.

  • Assess the task

The workers examine the extent of the bird droppings on the solar panels. They look for other debris and dirt deposited on the surface and choose the cleaning method accordingly.

  • Prepare for the job

The professional cleaners will pick the best time to clean the solar panels. If it's hot, they will come to clean early in the morning or later in the afternoon. The panels will be cooler and won't be damaged from the thermal shock.

  • Use pressure washing

The simplest and gentlest method to clean solar panels is pressure washing them. The workers use a hose or pressure washer with low pressure to rinse the solar panels. The water will loosen the bird droppings and other debris. They begin from the top work down and cover the entire surface.

If the droppings are difficult to remove or dry on, pressure washing or rinsing with water will not be enough. The professionals may employ additional methods to efficiently remove the bird droppings and buildup debris.

  • Apply cleaning solutions

When rinsing with water doesn't give results, the professionals will use a mild cleaning solution, specially formulated for solar panels. The cleaning solution will be more effective at removing bird droppings and difficult stains. It breaks down, dissolves the droppings, and eases out removal through gentle scrubbing.

Typically, bird droppings are fresh and not caked onto the solar panels' surface. Water rinsing will be efficient. When the droppings are dried and have been collected on the panels for many months, the professionals will apply a cleaning solution and gently rub for removal.

  • Use a soft brush or cloth

The workers use soft brushes or microfiber cloths to gently scrub the solar panels' surface with the cleaning solution. They don't use abrasive materials or harsh chemicals. Such tools and solutions may damage or scratch the panels.

  • Repeat rinsing

After scrubbing, the cleaners will use clean water to rinse the panels and remove any remaining cleaning solutions or loosened debris.

  • Allow for drying

If the weather is nice, the workers will allow the solar panels to naturally air dry. Otherwise, they might use soft, lint-free cloths to gently dry the solar panels.

  • Run a final check-up

Once the panels are dry, the cleaners will examine the solar panels to make sure that bird droppings and debris have been entirely removed. They also look for any signs of damage or defects. If necessary, they end with some final touch-ups.

To avoid future buildup or bird droppings, the professionals will install bird deterrents like nets, spikes, and scare devices close to the solar panels.

What are the traditional bird deterrence techniques

Traditional bird deterrence techniques have been widely used to stop birds from landing, perching, or nesting on solar panels. The most popular bird deterrence techniques are:

  • Bird spikes

Bird spikes are physical barriers made with rows of pointed spikes or rods. They are made from plastic, polycarbonate, or stainless steel. Professionals can install the spikes along the edges of the solar panels' mounting frames. They will create an uncomfortable surface and stop birds from landing or perching.

  • Bird nets

Bird nets are flexible and lightweight barriers made from nylon, stainless, or polyethene. The workers install the nets over solar panels to make a physical barrier that stops birds from landing, roosting, or nesting.

Professionals turn to bird nets to cover large areas or entire solar panel arrays. The bird nets are effective at ensuring complete protection against bird intrusion.

  • Visual deterrents

Visual deterrents use visual stimuli to prevent birds from approaching or landing on solar panels. The deterrents look like predators and create a visual image that is threatening or undesirable for birds. Scarecrows, predator decoys (owls, hawks), balloons with scary eyespots, reflective tape, and spinning devices are visual deterrents.

Typically, visual deterrents are used with other bird deterrence techniques to improve their efficiency.

  • Sonic deterrents

Sonic deterrents generate high-frequency sounds or distress calls that are alarming or uncomfortable for birds. They will stop the birds from landing or nesting on solar panels. The devices can be used independently or as parts of current bird deterrent systems.

Sonic deterrents are efficient at dispersing birds from large outdoor areas or deterring constant bird activity.

  • Ultrasonic deterrents

Ultrasonic deterrents generate ultrasonic frequencies that humans cannot hear. The frequencies are disturbing for birds, make them uncomfortable, and force them to leave the area. Ultrasonic deterrents are typically used together with other bird deterrent methods.

Ultrasonic deterrents are environmentally friendly and humane as they don’t harm birds and other wildlife.

How do professionals integrate bird deterrence measures with regular solar panel cleaning

Integrating bird deterrence measures with regular solar panel cleaning is crucial for maximizing the efficiency of both practices. Here's how professionals efficiently combine bird deterrence with solar panel maintenance:

Examination and planning

The professionals start by examining the bird-related challenges for your solar panel installation. They detect the areas where birds typically land, perch, or nest and any current damage or soiling caused by bird activity.

The workers conceive a plan that includes both bird deterrence measures, regular cleaning, and maintenance schedules. The plan is according to the Solal panel array, local bird species, and environmental factors that influence bird behaviour.

Install the bird deterrence measures

The professionals install adequate bird deterrence techniques according to the findings. They might install nets, bird spikes, visual deterrents, or sonic and ultrasonic devices. They place the deterrents in strategic locations to avoid bird access to solar panels.

From time to time, the workers will come and inspect the solar panels and bird deterrence measures. Should wear and tear or damage happen, the workers will perform repairs or replacements for the deterrence measures.

Schedule cleaning and maintenance

The professionals will come for regular cleaning and maintenance according to a set schedule. Local climate, environmental conditions, and seasonal changes are considered when deciding the frequency of cleaning and maintenance.

The workers include bird deterrence measures in the cleaning routine. They will check out for signs of bird activity. They will remove bird droppings, nesting materials, and debris from solar panels. Appropriate methods will be used each time.

Monitoring and adjustment

The professionals monitor the efficiency of bird deterrence measures and cleaning practices. They examine bird behaviour and the condition of solar panels. If necessary, they adjust the bird deterrence and maintenance strategies. Modifying current deterrents, adding more measures, or increasing the frequency of cleaning might be necessary.

Documentation and record-keeping

Detailed records on bird deterrence activities, cleaning schedules, and maintenance procedures are much needed. Owners should document observations or incidents related to bird activities to ensure the efficiency of deterrent measures.