Gulls and Solar Panels
Seagulls can potentially cause damage to your solar panels. While they may not be intentionally targeting the panels, their presence near the installation can lead to several issues:
Droppings: Seagulls leave droppings that can accumulate on the solar panels over time. This can create shading on the panels, reducing their efficiency and overall energy output.
Nesting: Seagulls may attempt to build nests on or around the solar panels, which can cause obstructions and increase the risk of damage to the panels and wiring.
Scratching: In some cases, seagulls may scratch or peck at the surface of the panels, which could lead to physical damage and reduce their performance.
Corrosion: Seagull droppings contain acidic components that can corrode the protective coatings on the solar panels, potentially causing long-term damage.
How to keep gulls off solar panels
To protect your solar panels from seagulls and other birds, you can consider implementing some preventive measures:
- Bird deterrents: Install bird deterrent devices such as spikes, netting, or wires around the solar panels to prevent seagulls from landing or nesting on them.
- Visual deterrents: Flying a hawk on a regular basis will create a hostile environment. Also, other predators and hawk kites reinforce the hawk’s territory.
- Ultrasonic & Bio-acoustic deterrents: Some sound devices emit distress sounds that are unpleasant to birds and can deter them from coming near the solar panels.
- Regular cleaning: Periodically clean the solar panels to remove any droppings and debris that may have accumulated. reduce shading & hotspots.
- If the roof area has stones or ballast, gulls will pick these up as part of their courtship and drop them on plate glass windows or solar panels below. Netting the stones will stop birds picking them up.
By taking these precautions, you can reduce the risk of damage to your solar panels caused by seagulls and maintain their optimal performance.
Create a hostile environment
Bioacoustic distress call systems are technological devices used to manage the issue of bird strikes at airports worldwide. These systems are particularly effective in deterring gulls and other birds, playing back their distress calls to deter them from nesting and congregating in the areas around runways and aircraft.
These systems work on the principle of fear and avoidance: when birds hear the distress calls of their species, they perceive a threat and tend to avoid the area. In an airport context, these sounds are broadcast to discourage birds from settling in the vicinity, thereby reducing the risk of bird strikes – a significant hazard for aircraft during takeoff and landing.
Using these systems on solar roof arrays is most effective before the nesting season starts. This timing is crucial because once birds establish a nesting site, they are less likely to abandon it, even in the presence of perceived threats. By initiating the system early, buildings can prevent the establishment of new nesting sites around critical areas.
Moreover, the bioacoustic distress call systems are often used in conjunction with other bird deterrent strategies for optimal results. These may include visual deterrents, such as decoy predators, laser devices, and physical barriers, as well as physical barriers, habitat management, and even trained birds of prey. Such a multi-pronged approach ensures that all potential stimuli that might attract birds are addressed, creating a comprehensive avian deterrent system.
In summary, bioacoustic distress call systems are a crucial part of bird management strategies for solar arrays.
See the videos below of Bioacoustic distress calls and bird-scaring kites in use:
Ballast netting is another strategic measure used in bird control, particularly for deterring gulls. This technique involves covering areas of loose small stones, gravel, or other similar materials with a robust, durable netting. Gulls, particularly species like the herring gull, have a natural behaviour to pick up and drop stones, especially during the nesting season. This can pose significant problems in areas such as airport runways (FOD), solar arrays, and glass roofs where such behaviour can damage to the structures below.
Covering these areas with ballast netting serves a dual purpose. First, it physically prevents gulls from being able to pick up stones, thereby mitigating the risks associated with this behaviour. This is because the netting forms a protective layer over the stones, which the birds cannot penetrate. The netting is usually made from strong materials, such as high-density polyethene, to ensure it withstands exposure to the elements and repeated interactions with birds.
Second, over time, the presence of the netting can deter gulls from the area entirely. Once the birds realize that they cannot perform their typical stone-picking behaviour due to the netting, they may decide to relocate to another area where this activity is not hindered.
It’s important to note that, like with bioacoustic distress call systems, ballast netting is often most effective when used in conjunction with other deterrent strategies. Comprehensive bird control plans should consider the various behaviours and habits of the bird species they aim to deter to ensure the most effective combination of techniques.
Call us TODAY on 01525 863 951 to discuss your gull issues.