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Have pigeons been playing on your solar panels?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 6 June 2013 at 9:57 am

See more recent entry here: Pigeons under the panels - what can you do to protect your roof-mounted solar PV?

"We had our solar panels installed in January last year and are very pleased with their efficiency," writes a YouGen reader. "However, something that no-one mentioned to us is that we would be plagued by pigeons thereafter.

"They have become a complete pest with both noise and mess being a major issue. We have spent money having spikes fitted around the panels and on the roof ridges as they were nesting under the panels. But it seems that we cannot rid ourselves of them and there can be up to 18 pigeons on our roof at one time. They actually slide down the panels. We are almost at our wits end and wonder if anyone can help us please."

Read our blog on how to keep solar panels clean.

All stories about pigeons and solar panels welcome (add them in the comment section below). They are expecially welcome if they come with tried and tested solutions to the problem. I'm also interested to hear seagull stories too, as I guess there may be some overlap.

Learn more about how much cleaning and maintenance may be required on solar panels.

Photo by Federic Bisson


If you have a question about anything in the above blog, please ask it in the comments section below.

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9 comments - read them below or add one


ZaraJordanComment left on: 28 October 2020 at 5:29 pm

Hmm… this is an interesting idea you've laid here, and maybe this is the case. I'll contact Pest Control Covent Garden service now, and share this idea with them. I am sure they'll find this idea to be of use.

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stevemetcalfeComment left on: 28 April 2016 at 11:33 am

We at Direct Solar Care have treated 1836 houses so far with wire mesh pigeon protection. We have found over the course of this, many people that had used gutter hedgehog (gutter brushes) only to find them extremely ineffective. We notice there is a comment regarding shooting with an air rifle. As a pest control company, we would say this is illegal, and also particularly ineffective on a large number of jobs. We are happy to take any questions regarding it.

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Richard C

Richard CComment left on: 4 September 2015 at 7:46 pm

My Problem with pigeons is a bit different. My solar panels are quite flat on the roof, so the pigeons don't get under them. However, my wife feeds the pigeons in the garden, along with other wild birds and they run around messing a good few hours of the day on the panels, waiting for feed time.

Of course the droppings is the big problem. Although I have done some checking and the output is not significantly worse when dirty than straight after cleaning, I still think I'd like to be rid of them dirtying the panels. My wife would have a seizure, if I shot them and, quite frankly, I couldn't care less if they are around, I just need them to keep off the panels.

Does anyone have any ideas on a pigeon r repellent, like there are to keep dogs & cats off the grass & out the flower beds? Maybe an electronic ultrasonic generator that will chase them off the panels to another area,where their messing doesn't matter?

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Peter Juler

Peter JulerComment left on: 1 May 2015 at 8:39 am

Our PV panels were put on late 2013 by an installer we like, but no mention was made of possible pigeon probs. We had 1 nest spring 2014, our installer told us to knock it down which we did.

This spring (2015) we've had 2 nests so far, have knocked both down. The pigeons have tried to build 1 of the nests again (don't know yet about the 2nd one as we only knocked it down yesterday).

I'd like:

(1) Installers to warn new customers of poss pigeon probs so the customers can think about it before going ahead.

(2) Good permanent solutions without costing a lot. (I've seen the wire-mesh-surround solution on YouTube, not sure if wld work on our tiles which are quite thick so could leave gaps. This blog mentions a pipe-brush solution, interested to know rough costs & effectiveness.)

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stickComment left on: 5 June 2014 at 8:30 pm


We have suffered the same problem for 12 months. We started with one nesting pair which quickly grew to a regular gang of around 11.

After trawling the internet and struggling to find anything but the wire mesh solution, it was recommended to us to try using the pipe brushes designed for stopping your gutters fill up with leaves. its quite simple to cable tie them together and tuck them just under the lip without attaching to the actual panels.

We had it done this morning and have some very confused pigeons just looking at it at the moment! We have been warned it will take a few days before they completely get the message so fingers crossed!

Seems to be keeping them out and I cant wait for a quiet morning with no dawn chorus, I cant find anyone else who has tried this and I have no idea how long it will last for , but if it works I'll keep you posted :-)

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Cathy Debenham

Cathy DebenhamComment left on: 14 April 2014 at 9:07 am

Thanks for sharing that SunCatcher. I'm sure other people will find it useful.

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SunCatcherComment left on: 13 April 2014 at 11:14 pm

Hi Cathy

We had the same problem, our gutters got blocked with the pigeons droppings. It was a nightmare!

We used this company they come out and installed a wire mesh around the whole array.

It stopped the pigeons from going underneath the panels, they did stay around for about 5 days after the job was done.

It worked very well for us :0)

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JohnFWComment left on: 22 June 2013 at 8:06 pm

We had a horrendous pigeon problem too. On moving in to our house - which had been vacant for 9 months - we had 105 pigeons on the roof. Local council not interested ("Not a pest sir - now if it had been a rat or wasp's nest....."). Eventually I was given the solution by an old hand:

Acquire a high power air rifle with a telescopic sight and carefully bag two pigeons at the same time every day for two weeks. Your pigeons will learn very fast indeed! Mine did. I even sold the air rifle back to the gun shop. Haven't seen them since!


1. Don't  "wing" a pigeon or you will find you are chasing the poor bird through flower beds etc in order to apply the coup de grace.

2. Avoid birds falling into gutters. Sounds obvious but...

3. Ensure you fire parallel to the PV panels

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Cathy Debenham

Cathy DebenhamComment left on: 14 June 2013 at 9:21 am

I asked the question on Twitter, and @Starfishpv suggested getting a plastic sparrowhawk.

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