Jan 28

Protect Your Investment: Solar Panel Theft on the Rise

Solar-derived energy is revolutionizing the current energy market and making a comeback for the environment. Your investment in solar panels is not only paving the way for a greener future but also saving you money on rising energy bills. Solar panels have now become the new hot commodity to own. Unfortunately, this has given rise to a new type of thievery- the solar panel thief.

These new savvy thieves are taking advantage of technological advancements, such as Google Earth, to pinpoint their next targets. Their favorite targets are residential and commercial properties in remote areas, although no area is completely “safe” from these opportunistic thieves. The difficulty for the homeowner or business property owner is that these thieves, with the proper technological knowhow can easily steal solar panels whether they are ground or rooftop mounted.

PV Chart

SolarInsure’s internal claims data shows that there has been a 17% increase in solar theft claims year over year in 2009. By taking the proper security precautions with your professional solar installer, you can protect your financial investment in your panels and avoid the hassle of insurance claims, potential increase in premiums and the overall compromising of your energy system. The following are recommended courses of action to protect your panels from theft:

1. Security Fasteners – Provides a solution without the extra cost of materials. Installing locks throughout your solar array in place of standard fasteners creates a difficult barrier for thieves to break into. Security fasteners are also used to secure lottery machines, voting machines and ATM machines.
2. Movement Detection Lights – Security lighting system can help make your home or business location significantly safer. Most criminals are attracted to easier targets, such as those areas that have poor lighting, a lack of alarm systems and secure locks. Exterior home lighting in the form of floodlights, security lights and motion sensors, are a great way to protect your home and ward off prowlers.

3. Alarms & System Monitoring – A company in Northern California by the name of Grid Lock has developed a PV system security device with a comprehensive list of options that is easy to install and provides a strong deterrent to the theft of solar modules. The product includes an alarm system that can instantly alert the police or monitoring company through the optional telephone dialing system.

Consult your professional solar installer when planning out your solar energy security needs. Also contacting your homeowner’s insurance company for available discounts may help offset any additional cost incurred from the purchase of security products.

SolarInsure is a California based insurance brokerage firm specializing in risk management and insurance solutions for the renewable energy industry.