Defender® Solar Panel Bird Excluders vs Solar Panel Mesh

Birds, particularly pigeons, like to nest under panels as they provide a safe, dry environment for bringing up their young. Unfortunately for the house owner, a flock of nesting pigeons under the solar panels can cause expensive damage to the panels, noise, and mess from old nest debris and droppings, which in turn poses health risks to the property owner.

As every bird control expert will tell you, no situation is alike and there is rarely a ‘one size fits all’ solution. There are many considerations including access, customer preference, aesthetics and cost. The two most popular methods are using Defender® Solar Panel Excluders and Mesh. We have asked our trade customer installers what they think is the difference between the two methods and why they like using our Defender® Excluders.

What are Defender® Bird Excluders and Solar Panel Mesh?

Defender® Solar Panel Bird Excluders: These are UV-stabilised polycarbonate strips with a length of 33.3 cm. The prongs can be trimmed to fit any gap or undulating tile exactly and the length of the strip can be shortened to fit the end of a panel. They are simply siliconed to the solar panel edges. To learn more, go to our dedicated page for Defender® Solar Panel Bird Excluders.

Solar Panel Bird Mesh: This is a black PVC-coated galvanised wire mesh designed to specifically prevent birds from gaining access to underneath solar panels. It can be bought in rolls of several metres in length. It is attached to the side of the solar panels using a clip and hook system.


Bird Excluders: No precise measuring is required as strips are siliconed around the full edge of the solar panels. When a corner is reached, the strips can be simply snapped to fit. The prongs can be easily cut to the perfect height to fit the gap between panel and roof as you go. As the strips are a complete unit, all cutting and installing can be done once on the roof.

Mesh: There is a degree of measuring needed before taking the mesh up onto the roof as it is tricky to cut precisely once up on the roof. Not only should the length be cut exactly but often the distance between the tiles and the panel fluctuates along the length. This must be taken into consideration. If the measurements are out, a new piece may have to be cut which increases the time taken and cost.


Ideally, all jobs would be done safely off scaffolding, but oftentimes, cost and access mean only ladders can be used. Be mindful that the more times you go up a ladder, the bigger risk to safety.

Bird Excluders: All materials including bird excluders, silicone and snips can be taken up a ladder in one go by one person.

Mesh: If a long length is fitted, there can be a lot of ladder moving and a minimum of two people on ladders are needed to haul it up and offer it up to the panels. The clips and fixings will also need to be brought up to the roof area.

Health & Safety:

Bird Excluders: The prongs of the Defender® Solar Panel Bird Excluders are blunt plastic which will not scratch. However, care should be taken when using snips to cut the prongs to height.

Mesh: Cutting can be tricky especially if there is no room on the property to roll out the mesh and cut safely away from pedestrians, using snips. Often it has to be done on a public footpath creating an obstruction. The galvanised steel can be sharp once cut, not only is this a hazard to the person installing, whose cut might then come into contact with bird guano, but also small off cuts can fall in the way of pedestrian's feet and bicycle wheels. The proofer must also take care that the sharp edges do not scratch the panels, guttering or leave marks in the render when fitting, as this will all need to be repaired.


The time it takes to complete a job including wages of all staff involved, must be taken into consideration when pricing a job.

Bird Excluders: Very quick to install, as they are snipped and siliconed around the edge of the solar panels, which can all be done once up on the roof. Another advantage, especially when no cutting is required, is the price per strip is very cost-effective.

Mesh: Precise measuring takes time, as does the fitting especially when fitting long length. When more members of staff are needed to finish a job, the cost increases.


Bird Excluders: As the strips can be snipped to the perfect height, they fit all panels, old and new, with thick or thin sides. The prongs hover slightly above the tiles allowing for debris such as leaves and sticks to pass out underneath with the rain, avoiding an unsightly build-up.

Mesh: Again a versatile option, as once cut to size it can cover any size gap and is good for long lengths of panel. It should be noted that not all clips fit onto all versions of solar panels. The small squares in the mesh can also catch leaves and twigs and this debris is often tricky to clear out.


Bird Excluders: The Defender® Solar Panel Bird Excluders can look very neat and tidy when installed on a long run. The ability to cut around obstacles makes the fit bespoke and barely visible from the ground.

Mesh: Mesh is available in steel and also in PVC dipped black. The black colour makes for an unobtrusive install and makes it slightly less visible from the ground especially when installed on grey tiled roofs.


There are pro’s and con’s to all methods of bird-proofing solar panels and we have found it very interesting talking the options through with our trade customer installers. There is definitely not a 'one size fits all' option. A lot comes down to the customer's personal preference, aesthetics, ease of use and cost. Often the positioning of the solar panels and the access available dictates the method that is used.

If you would like to chat with us about how to keep birds out from under your solar panels, do call us for free friendly advice on 01626 835055

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