Protecting Solar Panels the Robotic Falcon Way
It’s certainly somewhat of a novel approach, but if you want to protect your prized solar panel system from bird droppings, it might be worth considering employing the services of a robotic falcon.
Known to his “friends” as Brian, the mechanical falcon – or Robofalcon – is doing his bit to keep the likes of seagulls and pigeons away from a large solar array in Bristol, which sits proudly atop At-Bristol, the city’s popular science and technology centre.
A sort of modern day scarecrow, it’s Brian’s job to try and prevent birds from fouling their brand new 50kWp solar PV system, because bird dropping have been known to reduce the efficiency of solar systems significantly. Bristol, like many cities, has high numbers of seagulls, as well as pigeons. A robotic falcon like Brian is the ideal way to deter pests humanely, which he does by flapping his wings and emitting the authentic call of a peregrine falcon. Something of a local celebrity, Brian even has his own Twitter account.
At-Bristol’s solar array comprises of 208 photovoltaic panels, and the system was installed on the centre’s roof by a local solar company, Solarsense, with financial support courtesy of a grant from EDF Energy’s Green Fund . Estimated to be capable of producing more than 47,000kWh of electricity every year, the solar array should be able to provide around 20% of the centre’s annual needs, in addition to cutting its annual carbon footprint by at least 25 tonnes.
“Sustainability is part of our educational mission and PV is yet another way to reduce our own carbon footprint and teach visitors about sustainability,” commented Mike Rippon, At-Bristol’s estates director.
“As a charity with limited finances this investment makes a lot of sense for us.”
You can follow Brian on Twitter @brianrobofalcon. Eat your heart out, Worzel Gummidge!