Solar Panel Theft and Crime Increases

January 18 2017

Solar plant theft is an increasing problem for the solar industry. Since 2011, solar panel prices and installation fees have decreased. Solar panel availability increased simultaneously. Major businesses and cities have mandated the use of solar panels. This shift will lead to more solar plants and an increase of solar panel theft or property vandalism.

The biggest market for solar panels is California. It is no surprise that California also had the highest rate of solar power theft. Someone stole solar panels from a Newport Beach toll road and attempted to sell them on eBay for $100 each. The Newport Beach Police Sergeant stated that those solar panels were actually valued at $1500 apiece. The solar panels were reacquired and the thief was arrested.

Another incident of solar panel theft was discovered through a craigslist listing in Contra Costa Country. An officer on patrol spotted a man attempting to sell solar panels to a home builder. His suspicions grew and he confiscated the panels. Local detectives found that these panels matched the solar panels stolen from a local school.

Solar panel theft cases did not just occur in California. Oregon’s highway department continually had their panels stolen in a span of 18 months. In Minnesota, the Sauk River Watershed District had their smaller panels stolen. Solar plants may also be potential victims of solar panel theft.

Solar panel theft was described as the “crime of the future” by the president of a solar installation business. A California headquarters was also a victim of solar panel theft. Thieves stole more than $30,000 worth of solar panels. He felt the suspect were involved with solar panel installation because the panels were expertly removed. The company president increased security on his rooftop and urged solar panel owners to install video cameras and alarms on theirs.

None of the businesses suffering solar panel theft were clients of Stealth Monitoring or UCIT.

If your business is located in Canada, UCIT Online has an industrial security solution for solar plants. Their surveillance operators remotely video monitor locations and can replace an on-site security guard service at a fraction of the cost. UCIT monitors over 300 locations from their monitoring center in Ontario, Canada. The UCIT video analysis department analyzes video and reports findings to clients.

If your solar business is in the United States, Stealth Monitoring is a security industry leader in live video surveillance with over 9,000 video cameras watched nationwide. Stealth proactive video monitoring can detect and deter crime in California, Oregon, and other states while reducing security guard and other expenses. A Stealth operator can see unusual activity in real-time such as solar panel theft, activate a speaker warning to deter the thieves, and call the local police.