Keeping Your Solar Panels Safe

When you make an investment in solar panels, most people assume that they will generate power for the next 20 to 30 years.  In recent years, reports of solar panel theft are becoming common in communities in California and Colorado, although still rare in most parts of the country.  To many, safeguarding their solar investment has become a priority.

Solar insurance providers have seen the incidence of theft move at the same rate as installed solar capacity.  Typically, panels aren’t stolen from roof-mounted residential solar installations.  Burglars are usually too lazy to go on a homeowner’s roof to unclamp solar modules.  With most roofs being 35 to 45 degrees on the east coast, it’s also dangerous work at night.

As a homeowner, the best way to protect your investment is to insure your solar panels with your home’s policy.  Make sure your solar installer also gives you a list of serial numbers for your equipment.  If your modules are stolen, you can report that information to authorities and your insurance company.

Thieves usually go for large ground-mounted commercial installations where it is easy to pick off solar panels without alerting attention.  In California, many wineries are targeted because they are situated in remote locations which aren’t monitored at night.  Burglars often sell the stolen panels on Craigslist or Ebay for a fraction of the cost.

There are a few ways that you can safeguard your investment.  A motion detected light or a fence around the installation is a conventional way to deter thieves.   You can also install security cameras to monitor panels in remote areas.  Using security fasteners is another way to protect your solar panels.  These theft-resistant bolts require special tools to install and remove.  Burglars may get frustrated enough to move on or at least delayed until police arrive.

GridLock Solar Security is one of the vendors that have emerged to deter solar panel theft.  If a panel in an array is disturbed, it will trigger the GridLock alarm and activate a deafening siren.  They offer comprehensive security solutions that make it impossible for burglars to take panels without alerting authorities and damaging equipment.

You should understand all of your risks before you decide on a solar installation for your home or business.  Brightstar Solar is a licensed solar installer in Massachusetts and Connecticut.  We will work with our customers to navigate the installation process, maximize incentives, and manage the rebate and permitting paperwork involved.  If you have a home or business in Massachusetts or Connecticut and are interested in solar power, please contact us for a free evaluation.