Do Solar Panels Kill Birds?

Humanity has come a long way in finding a method to use solar power for our benefit. Still, unfortunately, one thing that we forgot along the way was – how it will affect the other habitants of this planet. 

Installing solar panels on your roof will help you cut off electricity costs, but is it a potential threat to nature? Do solar panels kill birds? 

Well, I have provided the explanation regarding that in the sections below. So, let’s get started!

Do Solar Panels Kill Birds

Do Solar Panels Kill Birds?

Parabolic solar systems reflect the sunlight to the convertor tube, transforming it into electricity. This is why they are considered extremely dangerous and highly threatening to the avian species.

The glare from these solar panels attracts the birds because they perceive it as a lake, so when they try to swoop in for a landing, it ends with them being deadly injured. 

Let’s finally resolve the mystery, do solar panels kill birds? Well, the answer is a bit complicated. Generally, it depends on the type of solar power installation.

While the photovoltaic energy that homeowners use cannot kill birds, it might be a potential danger for hatchlings, but it still needs further research.

Solar Panels Are a Dangerous Threat to Birds 

The National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory took a step forward to end all the theories about the threatening abilities of solar panels to birds. 

The elaboration on the causes of death of so many bird species in the electricity-generating facilities in Southern Carolina was shocking. 

The examination data comes from 233 birds identified among resident and non-resident species, including nocturnal and diurnal ones. The results state that exposure to solar flux causes bird mortality in several ways. 

Crippling and feather burn leading to immobility

First, let’s establish that birds are bizarre creatures with completely distorted vision. Since they are tetrachromats, they only see four colors: UV, blue, green, and red. 

So this means that the light these panels reflect, birds perceive it as a water source. Sixty-one birds had visible signs of blunt force impact damage, which was the cause of their demise. 

It seems like once these birds tried to land on these solar panel surfaces, it resulted in a fatal crash leading to fractures on internal and external parts like their head, neck, and wings. Other cases noted bruising around the bird’s legs and chest.

Read more: What Are the Limitations of Using Solar Energy?

The lake effect luring the waterbirds

The “lake effect” luring the waterbirds 

This is called a “lake effect” that’s especially threatening to water birds as they sometimes cannot take off because of their adaptation to only fly in the air from a water surface. The deadly affected species found near these solar-panel areas numbered 11 water birds. 

The Yellow-rumped Warbler and Northern Rough-Winged Swallow had about 50% of their wings affected, while the MacGillivray’s Warbler had burns on feathers around the head, neck, wings, and tails. The insects are also known to be impacted by the “lake effect,” being prey to insectivorous birds. 

The most probable theory here is that solar panels will kill birds when they are hit or impaled by them. The reason is that the bird dies from an internal injury caused by a sharp force on the head or body, like broken glass or a burn. 

Also, due to the weight of these panels and their material composition, it can be difficult for birds to fly away when struck by them.

Predation is another reason for the immediate death 

What happens after birds lose their flying ability? Eventually, they die from the impact of the ground or other surrounding objects, starve, or they become vulnerable to predators. The Ivanpah Solar Power Facility is known to be a massive food chain area. 

The scenario goes with predation as the immediate cause of death for birds that remained alive but could not take off the land. 

The carcasses that the research team found in Ivanpah had missing body parts associated with hemorrhage and laceration of the skin and pectoral muscles. 

Types of Solar Panels and Birds Death

Concentrated solar power systems are intended for large utility-scale, using huge fields of mirrors to reflect and concentrate sunlight onto a receiver. Then, they turn the collected heat into energy that generates electricity.

This type of technology is far different from the solar energy installed on home roofs, also known as photovoltaic solar energy, which is known to be less threatening. 

Up to this day, there aren’t any cases reported by homeowners that the photovoltaic panels or solar thermal collectors have harmed birds. 

Still, since they make a good place for nesting because of their excellent protection, the chance of being harmful to hatchlings isn’t excluded.

Also read: Can Solar Energy Be Used in Homes and Businesses?


So, do solar panels kill birds? Well, after carefully reading the article, I hope you have discovered it.

Also, if solar panels sparked your interest and you want to learn more, you can go through the website here, SolarDorm, and learn useful things!

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