Solar panels can have a significant effect on a bat roost and may sometimes need the advice of an ecological consultant, although it’s worth approaching your Statutory Nature Conservation Organisation first of all (assuming you meet all the other criteria for free advice).
There are two main types of solar panel systems available: “on-roof” systems, where panels are fixed to brackets and installed above the existing tiles or slates; and “in-roof” systems, where the existing tiles are removed and replaced with solar panels. Each of these will impact bats differently, so you should consider bats as soon as possible when planning solar panel works.
In general, an on-roof system is likely to have less impact on bats than an in-roof system. However, it still has the potential to change the temperature or roosting conditions for any bats roosting beneath tiles, or to block access points. Any wiring or equipment installed within the roof space may also disturb bats. Getting personalised advice will help ensure that you choose the right system and carry out the work in the right way.
This advice provided by the National Bat Helpline is only possible thanks to the generosity of people like you. Our vital advice service helps thousands of people by providing advice for free, this in turn saves thousands of bats every year. Partial funding from Natural England helps cover some of our running costs, but it does not cover everything. Your donation will help ensure our small team can continue to provide assistance and a lifeline for bats.