Solar Panels still being stolen...

BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,007 admin
From a small town on the coast just below San Francisco:
A plan to cut energy costs at Oceana High School was less than two months from going online. Workers had already attached 108 cells, worth about $43,700, to the roof of the building. And officials from the Jefferson Union High School District were looking forward to a little budget relief.

But sometime in the past month thieves got onto the roof, unhooked the cells and carried them off. So now the district has to start all over again.
A lucrative black market that would readily absorb the panels won't make finding them any easier. Stealing solar panels has become a growth industry in California as the installation of the green-energy producers has exploded, said Marc Feyh, a manager at Santa Rosa-based GridLock Solar Security.

Thieves have been particularly active in Napa and Sonoma counties, Feyh said. But since few of the crooks have been caught, it's not clear where the panels are ending up. Police and solar industry professionals think it's possible they're being purchased at cut-rate prices by unscrupulous contractors who then install them, Feyh said. The thefts are a big problem for wineries, municipalities and, of course, schools, he said.
Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset


  • dreesdrees Solar Expert Posts: 481 ✭✭✭
    Re: Solar Panels still being stolen...

    I hate theives.

    That said, while solar is a big market, especially in California - stealing things like solar panels should be fairly easy to recover - as long as you recorded the serial #s from the parts you install.

    All panels have serial #s - it wouldn't take too much detective work to scout out any installs in the area use the same panels since just about everyone wants the rebate and to do that you need to list the exact model of panel you're installing.

    I would bet that you'll find a lot of stolen panels on Craigslist...
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Solar Panels still being stolen...

    somehow i don't see the cops climbing onto roofs and unbolting the pvs to turn them around to see if the serial numbers are of stolen pvs. maybe pv manufacturers could double stamp the pvs on the back and the front with the serial number for those pvs that are more approachable?

    it boggles my mind that thieves made it to roofs of schools and stayed there long enough to disconnect the pvs and lower them to the ground without somebody noticing. most schools do leave lights on outside for security reasons and those thieves were visible that were on the ground. if the cops don't patrol that much then security cameras should have been in place.
  • john pjohn p Solar Expert Posts: 814 ✭✭✭
    Re: Solar Panels still being stolen...

    Workers had already attached 108 cells, worth about $43,700, to the roof of the building.Thats a lot of panels to disconnect and remove, It would take more than just 2 people and it would need a good sized van./truck? You would think someone would notice???//:confused:
  • Row1Row1 Registered Users Posts: 10
    Re: Solar Panels still being stolen...

    a school probably has work contracts arranged by the district, located somewhere else.

    if a crew in a van drive up with some fake work order, with the superintendant's name on it, act the right way, and tell the principal they will be on the roof for 3/4 of the day, the principal would probably just shrug and let them get to work.

    school principals are busy, and generally might not call the superintendant of the school district to double =-check a work crew with a work order.

    if a principal did call, it would be 2 days befoer the superintendant called back, uinless it was an 'urgent' deal.

    People have been paying a lot of attention to big A/C installations, since thieves destroy these to sell the copper. Solar may get this type of attention in the future.
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