Stolen Panels

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Hi folks. I had solar panels stolen off my roof last night. They cut the wires and took the rack and all. They were 4 BP Solar Chrystaline panels 75 watts each on a rack totaling four panels manufactured around year 2001, on a Two Seas universal mounting rack model UNI-TP/04. They were stolen from Northern Lower Michigan and are probly going to be black-marketed somewhere. Keep an eye out for a sleeze ball indegent with no life or practical means of sustenence who is trying to peddle some panels. Also guard your panels!!

What steps do you take to secure your panels so they do not get stolen? Thanks.

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  • nigtomdaw
    nigtomdaw Solar Expert Posts: 705 ✭✭
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    Re: Stolen Panels

    Sorry to hear about your pvs. I live in Spain and thefts have been a problem here too, I bolted mine internally to 40mm angle iron which formed my roof sub frame. Used domed allen head bolts to fix pvs to subframe and then drilled them round. So you would have to break into the concrete shed and then take a grinder to the bolts which my Japanese Akita dogs make take offence to as there kennels will below the new shed extension soon.

    Having said that reports have also come along the rumour scare mill if they cant nick em they just smash them.:grr
  • Roderick
    Roderick Solar Expert Posts: 253 ✭✭
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    Re: Stolen Panels

    Sorry to hear about your loss.

    Do file a police report.

    My opinion is that smart people don't steal, and neither do the industrious. Since those qualities would be needed for someone to use the panels, themselves, I agree most likely someone is just trying to get some money.

    That sort of thing is hard to pawn, so keep your eye on local flea markets, Craigslist, and maybe even eBay.

    Is there anything that you have that can prove the panels were yours? I recorded all the serial numbers of my panels, but that was more in case there was a recall, than preparing for theft. Maybe you drilled extra holes in the frames, or painted them somewhere?

    Sorry, I don't know much about security measures. The best security is having senior citizen neighbors that know you, and enjoy sitting on the porch watching the goings-on in the neighborhood. When there's something strange going on, they take down license numbers!
  • niel
    niel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: Stolen Panels

    sorry for your loss and we've had a few discussions in the past concerning this. obviously keeping them difficult to reach like a roof is one way, but they went after them on yours. the extra heavy hardware and odd hardware along with sheering is also good. odds are they'd have thwarted that because you state they took the mounts too. kind of the equivalent of not having to break into the safe on the quick as they just take the whole safe. the dogs are also good, but not for everybody. a good alarm system and security cams also may help.
    these people knew what they were doing in my opinion so they wouldn't be dumb enough to put them up locally or sell them locally, but you just never know so check your local papers and roofs. knowing the serial numbers is a must as even if the police were to recover them you have to prove it's yours or they tend to keep them for themselves. i know from experience in the past with something that was stolen from my car and they wouldn't give the stuff to me without me proving it was mine. it gets doubly stolen then in some cases because of this so it is vital to put as many roadblocks as possible with identifiable markings in addition to serial numbers, and recording on video on the sly or they'll steal or damage that too. i hope more ideas come forth, but your pvs may be gone forever. i do wish you luck in getting them back.
  • Art
    Art Solar Expert Posts: 32
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    Re: Stolen Panels

    Hi, I have a mobile camping rig, and use molex connectors for all the wiring and also for extension cables
    that can be added to move the panels away from the shady area I might pitch a tent.
    The connectors are the same four conductor type used to connect hard disk drives in computers.

    Two wires are obviously used to connect power, while as a planned upgrade,
    I intend to use the other two to wire a loopback through every extension and solar panel,
    so as to trigger my car alarm, or seperate screecher alarm biult into my mobile rig.

    Maybe a sililar idea would work with a household alarm system.
    Cheers, Art.

    ps. It's pretty gutsy to flog four large panels and a mount. Imagine walking around with that.
  • Art
    Art Solar Expert Posts: 32
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    Re: Stolen Panels

    Ok, so this thing costs about $10 AU, and could have potentially triggered a household alarm.
    http://www.picbasic.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?t=7182
    The panels would most likely have been stolen at night,
    but it would only take a small nightlight, or maybe even streetlight to keep the volatage above zero.

    It is probably illegal on both forums to cross link, but it does seem a neat solution that
    could have saved this under the right circumstances, or triggered a camera to record the theft.