Solar-panel thievery taking off in U.S.
Solar-panel thievery, long a problem in Europe, has been gaining popularity recently in the United States courtesy of high energy prices, rising demand for solar, lax security measures to protect panels, and solar’s sexy chic. (After all, you don’t see anyone running off with your energy efficiency do you?) While no official statistics exist, solar panel burglary appears to be heaviest in California where the market is the largest and demand is high, but solar thieves have also struck in other states. A number of stolen panels have resurfaced online, with eBay and Craigslist among the favorite venues to unload the goods. “This is the crime of the future,” said Tom McCalmont of the recently burgled solar-installation business Regrid Power. McCalmont and other solar-theft victims recommend engraving identifying marks on the panels, installing alarms or video cameras near solar arrays, and installing panels with hard-to-unscrew mountings.