Lindisfarne Castle: How a plastic owl contributes towards better solar power generation!

Lindisfarne PV1reducedI had my first opportunity to go back to Lindisfarne Castle since the PV panels were installed in February 2012. It was good to hear that even though the panels have only been working for 10 months, they have already generated over 7200 kWh – Projecting this to 12 months, the panels will contribute around 9% towards the electrical load of the Castle and that’s despite the gloomy summer!

Being a grade1 listed building the planning consent required that the PV panels could not be seen from ground level so they are hidden behind the roof parapet. There are 3 arrays, each of 16 panels, a total of just over 11kWp (kilowatt-peak).  The array is split into 3 to reduce the impact when the chimney or parapet cast a shadow on the panel.  Shadows can significantly reduce the output….the shadow is like squeezing a hose-pipe and stopping the water flowing through it. 

It was hoped that due to their angled mounting, the panels would be relatively self-cleaning, but the local bird population, particularly pigeons have added significantly to the challenges of keeping the panels clean to ensure continuing good performance from the installation – hence the plastic owl.

PS Have you spotted the owl?  He was very camera shy

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2 Responses to Lindisfarne Castle: How a plastic owl contributes towards better solar power generation!

  1. That owl is very hidden! Is he in that spot that becuase he get moved around regularly so the birds don’t recognise him? or just because its windy?!

  2. Hi Claire
    The owl has been moved many times to try and deter the pigeons. Unfortunately they seem to be quite used to him now and are not so easily fooled. The pigeons create quite a mess of the panels and the roof generally, the panels and the roof need regular cleaning. The panels are protected by the surrounding walls of the castle and hence the wind/weather hasn’t caused too much of a problem. The only weather that does cause a problem is the snow lying on the panels which has to be dealt with to ease pressure both on the panels, but also on the roof and to ensure the roof drains are not blocked

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