Solar Panels and Pigeons

Solar Panels and Pigeons

About six months ago, we had a 6.75 kW photovoltaic (aka, solar panel) system installed on our roof. We leased the panels, which was a great option, because we put no money down and the monthly fee on our lease is what we were already paying for electricity. So rather than pay the energy company, we are paying a solar lease. As energy rates increase, our monthly fee stays the same–for the next 20 years. It’s been fabulous!

And our system has been generating more electricity than predicted. The projected power output in the picture below is in green. Our actual production is in orange. For every month, except May, we’ve produced more energy than expected. And May was probably under because it was cloudy and rainy. Not only are we overproducing, but we’re also underusing. Our energy use this year is lower than last–impressive as we have added a person, and his cloth diapers, to our family.

Unfortunately though, we aren’t the only ones who love our solar panels…. we have a flock of pigeons nesting under them on our roof. I did not realize that the panels would be installed with a 6″ gap between them and the roof, making the perfect, warm nesting spot for pigeons (see the attached photo of what they’ve left behind in our gutters). I hear squirrels like solar panels too, especially chewing on their wires. So if you’re looking to get a system installed, inquire about animals in your area and definitely look into getting a critter guard. It’s cheaper and easier to install when the panels go up.

Solar Power Produced 2011

See the waste and even an egg left in our gutter by pigeons nesting under our panels. Interestingly, you can see several pigeons hanging out on the roof of my neighbor’s house two doors down.