Having been involved with the solar PV industry since 2010 we have lived through its Feed-In Tariff induced roller coaster rides between 2010 to 2016, with dizzying highs countered by awful lows. Up to 2016 the vast majority of solar installations were installed to gain the Feed-in Tariff, the generation tariff paid to anyone who owned a PV system, or because panels were required by planners, with actually very few installed to save energy or reduce emissions. And as a scheme it was hugely successful, according to the STA over 800,000 homes in the UK have solar panels, the vast majority as on-roof PV systems, generating huge amounts of clean energy.
When we first started in the industry, problems caused by pigeons was not something we were aware of. Up to then our experience of pigeon proofing was limited to the occasional problem our customers reported, which we solved by installing mesh, a system that our installers found difficult to do and which, at least for us, required full scaffolding and a lot of time.
Our inspiration for SolaSkirt came about due to the launch of the Tesla Powerwall. Accompanying the Tesla Powerwall images was a photo of a very sleek looking PV system that didn't look ugly on the roof!! A revelation. Finally an on-roof PV system that looks great!!! However after much enquiry we found that this product didn't actually exist, certainly not in the UK, and while there are some front skirts as part of the mounting system available in the US, there was nothing comparable in the UK, and even skirts in the US tended to just be on the front edge, not surround the entire array of panels.
So we set about undertaking our own research, and we found that pigeons are an increasing problem. Solar panels, as you can probably imagine, are a very enticing spot for a pigeon to live. They provide protection from the elements and predators, providing warmth and convenient rails onto which its easy to build a nest. And its a problem that is only increasing. As soon as pigeons are evicted from one set of panels and blocked out, they go to look for another array to live underneath, and baby pigeons born under panels then grow up, fly the nest, and find their own array of panels to live under. And so as you can imagine the problem is only set to increase exponentially.
It is for this reason that customers, who may have had panels for 10-years with no problem, suddenly find themselves swamped by pigeons who not only cause a huge amount of noise, but also deposit vast quantities of guano and nesting material which blocks up gutters as well as eggs, dead bodies and the accompanying mites and bacteria.
Our analysis of the market the only solutions that we could find were mesh, which often look terrible, especially when fitted by less scrupulous installers who fit poor quality cheap mesh, spikes, which also look terrible and didn't seem to work very well, and glue on trim that we couldn't see lasting for a few years let alone 20. So we resolved to develop a better system.
After much trial and error we came up with our own system of clamps and skirt, tried and tested on our own solar panel array (below). Amid tentative enquiries into the market and testing it with our own customers we found that they much preferred our solution to mesh, even with the price premium that our system, with its aluminium clamps and exterior grade aluminium skirt, expertly powder coated by a company in Wales, inevitably had.
SolaSkirt has its own advantages. Rather than plastic clips or glue it is held on by aluminium clamps, made by a company that manufactures solar panel clamps, that fit onto any panel, don't require any hole be drilled in the panel (which invalidates the panel warranty and can cause damage) and that actually enhances the array of panels, covering the rain water run-off, gaps under the panels, rail, hooks and hanging down cables, as well as keeps the pigeons out for good.
It also gives silver framed panels, by far the most common type of installation up until a few years ago, a sleek black trim, making the panels something that people can be proud of rather than an eyesore as they sometimes can be.
SolaSkirt is also flexible and easy to fit. With our pre-cut corners it can be easily adapted to any panel layout.
And as its a nationwide problem we not only install our own systems in the south, using our own team of rope access technicians, but we also supply our kits to solar panel installers who are looking to offer a better looking PV system to their customers, and to pest controllers looking for a premium solution.
So if you are looking for a something a little bit better quality then please drop us a line