Pigeon proofing, bird barriers, or pigeon barriers. It has many names, but whatever you call it, all that matters is making sure your solar panels have them. Not all residential solar arrays need bird proofing, but in my experience, about 97% of them do, and pigeons are not the only reason. Solar panels achieve peak efficiency between 59° F and 95° F. Depending on your solar panel's temperature coefficient, your efficiency would decrease anywhere from 1% to 5% or more once the temperature is above 95° F. To minimize the loss of production: solar panels are attached to brackets that secure them about 5 inches or more above the roof. This allows air to flow underneath them and helps them try to stay within the range of peak performance.
If you live in Las Vegas or Henderson, Nevada, you know we need all the help we can get to stay cool. When there are no barriers around the solar panels, anything can get under them; they act like a giant garage ready for storage. Leaves, branches, twigs, and plastic bags can be wedged under solar panels by the winds. Pigeons love the protection it offers from predators; it makes a great place to raise a family. The pigeons are more than willing to bring up twigs, fabric, and plastic pieces to make their nests. Pigeons do not have the greatest bathroom etiquette; they don't seem to mind it. They relieve themselves wherever is convenient, and eventually, it piles up around them like snow. This is awesome for pigeons but terrible for solar panels. All this "debris;" restricts the air from cooling down the solar panels efficiently. This will lead to lower absorption and higher energy bills.
Also, fires have been started due to hotspots in the solar panels or faulty wiring that produces an electrical arc that catches nearby debris on fire. Bird proofing your solar panels will keep the airflow moving in and the debris out. It will also deter the pigeons and their waste; they would rather find other homeowners with their solar panels unprotected than waste energy and try to break in and have a party. The best way to prevent pigeons from moving in or getting them out and cleaning up the place if they already have one is to hire a professional solar panel cleaner.
A solar panel cleaner can provide pictures and videos of the system so you can see the situation without being on the roof. They also are equipped with quality products and materials that ensure an effective barrier and a sanitized roof. If the pigeons haven't moved in yet or there is no debris, a simple cleaning below the solar panels is completed before the bird barriers are installed. If the pigeons have been or are still there, the bird-proofing becomes a little more complex. First, they must remove nests, pigeons, and debris under the solar panels. Waste removal is next. Depending on how long and how many pigeons were hanging out, it could equal 10 to 100 pounds of disease-infested pigeon waste. The roof will then be washed and disinfected with enzyme killers, bleach, and water. This is a necessary step to get rid of their scent and bacteria. After all this, the system can be inspected, and bird-proofing can begin.
Professional solar panel cleaners use rubber-coated galvanized steel mesh that will not rust or scratch, along with galvanized steel clips that hook into the frames of the solar panels. Now that the pigeon barriers have been installed, nothing will be able to get underneath them and block the airflow. If a solar panel needs to be worked on, the bird barriers can easily be removed by humans and replaced. Bird-proofing your solar panels can help increase energy production by preventing debris, pigeons, and their waste from building up. It prevents potential faulty wiring from catching debris on fire. And it discourages pigeons making them find another place.
If you're in the Las Vegas, Henderson, Nevada area and wondering about the state of your panels or if you know you have problems already, give Barron's Solar Wash Company a call. We are a one-stop shop that can cover all your solar panel maintenance needs. We have the tools, knowledge, and experience to "Wash, Inspect, and Protect Your Investment."