In bushfire-prone areas, ember guard mesh covers cover any opening or roof cavity to protect from burning embers, including gutters, valleys, roof ventilation openings, fascia, ridges, and hips.
So, is ember guard for solar panels? No. ScreenTech does not advise using ember guard mesh on solar panels as the design and installation methods hinder productivity and can void product warranties. However, ScreenTech does recommend other ember-proofing measures in BAL-rated areas.
Ember guard mesh is not a suitable gutter guard product for solar panel protection. However, protecting your solar panels against the threat of ember attack.
Ember guard vs solar panel bird mesh
The differences between ember guards, gutter guards and solar panel meshes are essential to matching the right gutter guard products to the solution.
What is the difference between ember guards and solar panel mesh? The two primary differences are the mesh hole size and installation. Ember guards must have less than a 2mm hole size, while solar mesh has a larger hole size to optimise solar panel productivity. Ember guards require screws and saddle fixtures, while solar mesh uses clips to prevent voiding the solar panel warranty.
Solar mesh is designed to ensure the optimisation of the solar panel system. Solar mesh’s 12mm mesh gaps prevent possums, vermin and pest birds from nesting underneath the solar panels while also increasing breathability and decreasing moisture which can damage the panels. The physical barrier providing bird control reduces the flammable debris underneath the panels but will not prevent smaller debris and leaves.
Ember guard-compliant mesh stops leaves and debris from blocking the gutter and prevents ember attacks in bushfire-prone areas. Property is threatened by ember attack when windborne embers ignite waste, leaves and debris in gutters and roof spaces.
Solar mesh installation uses clips instead of saddles and screws to ensure that the solar panel warranties are not void. Ember guard mesh cannot be safely secured to the panels without screws and saddles due to the material manufactured processing.
Another minor difference between the two meshes is the coatings and colours. Colorbond® aluminium ember guards are powder-coated and steel ember guards are made from Colorbond® steel in over 25+ Colorbond® colours. Solar mesh is made from stainless steel or galvanised wire with a black PVC coating that is a non-combustible material.
SolarMesh & Ember Guard Comparison
The below table compares ScreenTech’s SolarMesh range and Ember Guard ranges:
galvanised or stainless steel wire
aluminium, Colorbond® steel or bronze
ember guard or gutter guard
Black PVC Coating
powder coating D1010
expanded or extruded
expanded, expanded single direction or machine-woven or extruded
Best Fit Solutions
solar panel protection
ember proofing, leaf guard against fine debris, bird, pest & possum proofing, reduce maintenance & safety
AS 3959-2018 compliant
BAL-12.5, BAL-19, BAL-29, BAL-40, BAL-FZ
Ember Guard Bushfire attack level (BAL) suitability
BAL-12.5, BAL-19, BAL-29, BAL-40, BAL-FZ
See our full range of gutter guard products.
Why bird-proof solar panels
- Protect solar panels – Birds damage solar panels when bird droppings permanently corrode aluminium frames and stain the solar panel facade.
- Protect your health – Stop bird infestation and prevent risk to the family’s health as birds carry transmissible diseases and parasites, including salmonella, bird mites and lice.
- Improve property aesthetics – stop birds nesting under the panels to reduce other debris and litter around the property for better aesthetics.
- Stop bird noise – bird species are nocturnal and many live in communal families. Cover your solar panels with SolarMesh for quieter living.
- Void panel warranty – bird damage to solar panel electrical wiring void warranties by your solar providers. Installing solar mesh reduces maintenance costs and saves you money.
See our SolarMesh range.
Why ember-proof solar panels
Solar panel bird proofing prevents leaves and nesting birds from habituating underneath the solar panels and protects against windborne embers. In bushfire-prone areas, 85% of homes destroyed occur due to windborne embers and not via direct fire contact. Therefore, gutter protection and solar panel protection are a must for any home in bushfire risk zones.
According to Australian Standard AS3959-2009, ember guards must cover any opening or roof cavity to protect from burning debris in specific bushfire attack level areas. Homeowners are not legally required to cover solar panels with ember guard-compliant mesh.
Ensuring commercial buildings and residential properties are adequately protected from a bushfire is the best solution to protect your home. Installing ember guards and leaf guards to meet Australian standards is the best protective gutter guard solution.
- LWG: 6.0mm
- SWG: 3.0mm
- Aperture: 1.6mm (average hole size)
- Plate thickness: 0.8
- Strand width: 1.2mm
- Aluminum mesh
Features and benefits:
- Strongest aluminium guard
- One way mesh with added trough for maximum water collection
- Complies with AS3959–1999
- Australian Bushfire Standards
- CSIRO tested flammability index of zero
- Suitable to BAL 29
- Akzo Nobel D1000 powder coating.
- Powder coated in Australia
- 25-year material warranty
See our full range of gutter guard & ember guard products.
Bushfire Attack Level Recommendations
BAL-Low to BAL-29
BAL-ratings require the specific gutter mesh, gutter guard and ember guard:
- BAL-Low indicates low risk from burning embers and the gutter guard choice suits your gutter protection solution and not the ember guard specified.
- BAL-12.5 indicates some risk of ember attack and the aluminium ember guard and the gutter guard must comply with BAL 12.5.
- BAL-19 indicates a risk of ember attack, and the aluminium/steel gutter guard complies with BAL-19.
- BAL-29 indicates a high risk of ember attack and aluminium or steel ember guards comply with BAL 29
In BAL-low to BAL-29, we recommend SolarMesh as the best solar panel protection solution. The aperture size protects from burning debris, leaf guard, and birds nesting under the solar panels.
BAL-40 to BAL-FZ
In extreme bushfire risk areas with BAL-40 or BAL-FZ ratings, ScreenTech recommends using corrosion-resistant, non-combustible aluminium gutter guards as solar panel protection. In these areas, only steel and bronze ember guards meet ember guard compliance; however, in these cases, aluminium gutter guards secure the roof without needing to be screwed into the panels. The smaller hole size provides better protection against embers while also stopping birds nesting.
ScreenTech also recommends gutter guard installation on solar panels requires professional installation and should not be undertaken as a DIY gutter guard solution.
Need gutter guard installed?
Want to know more? ScreenTech sends out Colorbond® gutter guard, ember guard and solar mesh samples. We include guides to architects and consult gutter guard projects and considerations.
Look no further than ScreenTech’s TuffMesh®, GutterMesh, SteelMesh and SolarMesh products. Our mesh suits Klip-Lok®, Trimdeck®, corrugated, tiled roofs and solar panels. Get in touch with a ScreenTech installation partner today for your gutter guard installation needs.