Solar Power Enlisted To Help Keep Wind Farms Free Of Bird Poop

solar powered scarecrow

Scaring off seagulls with a solar powered scarecrow | Image: Scaretech Global

Bird poop, aka guano, presents major headaches for offshore wind farm operators – but this solar powered gizmo is apparently proving to be very successful in keeping birds at bay.

Bird droppings accumulating on offshore facilities pose health risks and can promote corrosion of equipment. Keeping facilities clean adds to the cost of building and running an offshore wind farm and bird strikes can also be a major risk around helicopter landing pads servicing the project.

Scaretech Global have come up with a solution that helps protect humans and doesn’t harm the birds.

The concept is based on a traditional scarecrow approach, using a mannequin designed to look like an offshore worker decked out in full protective high visibility clothing. It appears the high-vis aspect itself is enough to make birds wary and this visual deterrent is backed up by the emission of sporadic and sensor-controlled noise and high-intensity strobe lighting.

Scaretech Global's solar scarecrow

Designed to withstand the incredibly harsh conditions experienced in offshore wind farm locations, the Scaretech device is powered through the use of solar panels – although not mentioned by the company, there may be battery involved as well.

According to an article on REVE, the scarecrow was trialed for three weeks on Dong Energy’s Race Bank wind farm, which is situated off the UK’s North Norfolk coast. No new guano was recorded on the treated areas during the trial period.

Dong Energy’s Richard Appleby has described the Scaretech system as a “game changer for the wind industry’s guano problem”.

There’s not a lot of information on Scaretech Global’s web site, but it seems inspiration for the idea came from the discovery of a forgotten high-vis protective jacket left on a wind turbine – and  the area around the abandoned jacket was the only place seagulls weren’t landing.

In related news, electricity was generated for the first time at the Race Bank Offshore Wind Farm last week. The facility consists of 91 Siemens 6 megawatt (MW) turbines, which now hopefully will remain bird-poop free thanks to Scaretech’s device and solar power.

Dong Energy says Race Bank’s 573MW capacity will generate enough electricity to meet the annual electricity demands of over half a million UK households.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

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