We’ve all seen many solar panels that part of them is covered with birds droppings. Unlike dust or air pollution that will reduce the insolation on the panel, bird droppings (if the cell is fully covered!) won’t let any visible ray pass through them and will decline the output power to zero, which may cause limitation on whole column or row of the cells. I observed this problem when I was walking in a sunny day in “Mellat Park” in Tehran. There were many solar park lights which their PV panels was covered partly with “inconsiderate birds” droppings! Since the panels were installed on top of the lights and also the lights were spread all over the park it seems too time-consuming and of course costly to clear all of those panel manually. So because “Prevention is better than cure”, I’ve gathered 4 usual way and 1 new idea to keep birds away from panels (Or at least their poops!).
- Electronic Ultrasonic or Sonic Bird Repeller
For Indoor and outdoor use, there are Ultrasonic (only birds can hear not humans) and Sonic (we can hear too) bird repellers which generate obnoxious waves for birds. The waves keep birds away while the generator is working. This bird repeller can work constantly or periodically. They have adjustable volume so you can decide how far birds should stay away! Remember, one repeller can work for a wide area so using this device you may see not even a bird in your local park anymore!
- Needle Strips
One easy way is not to let birds to land on our panels frame. Have you ever tried to sit on your wall metal fences?! It’s painful of course, so we don’t try this and neither birds do (considering difference in sizes). There are needle strips which can be easily installed on the edge of frame and inhibit bird from landing on our panel and doing rest of their dirty works!
- Eagle or Owl 3D Replica
Maybe this is the oldest method that our ancestors have been using for many centuries too. It is used even these days in our country in some farms. Placing a replica of a human or a hunter bird can scares birds effectively. It can be a beautiful idea to put an owl replica on top of each park lighting!
- Irritating Tapes
There is some kind of foil tapes which bothers all of a bird’s senses. The tapes are iridescent and diffractive and with even a breeze they make noises and diffuse sunlight toward birds which really makes them confused (or maybe scared!). cheap and easy to use.
- Extra Bar on Top of Panel’s Frame
I personally prefer this idea to the others mentioned before. Normal birds usually land on upper edge of frame (imagine our panel is installed with a slope). So if we put an extra bar, in parallel with upper edge of panel as far as a bird can’t sit on our frame edge, the bird will select upper bar to land on and therefore there will be no more droppings on the panel! It’s easy and innovative idea for park lighting with solar panels on them.
Each of these solutions cost us time and money but we should consider and estimate how useful these methods are and how much energy they will retrieve for us and then select one of these solutions. I strongly recommend to start with simple and not so expensive ones and after you witnessed any change in efficiency of your system, you can go further and try better (and maybe more expensive) solutions.
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