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Solar Panel Security
Solar panels are valuable and unfortunately the more unscrupulous in our society are realizing that too. Around the world there's been a marked increase in the theft of solar panels, with people losing up to tens of thousands of dollars worth of equipment in single incidents.
While a solar array may be covered under your home contents insurance policy (and it's a good idea to check that it is), it doesn't do anything towards the trauma of being a victim of theft and may also increase your insurance premiums.
In most states it is still illegal to have explosive booby traps, death rays, acid bombs, steel jawed traps and high voltage electrification deterrents as a means of protecting your investment from criminals, but with a little bit of ingenuity and common sense you can certainly frustrate their efforts without causing grievous bodily harm to offenders, as desirable as that might be. The great thing is many strategies are quite cheap to implement; especially given the value of your investment.
Here's some handy tips for solar panel security.
- Don't boast about how much the panels are worth, you'll only attract attention.
- Install movement detector lights on your roof. No criminal wants a spotlight shining in their face.
- Use one way screws when affixing the panels.
- Chain the panels together with heavy gauge nylon coated wire.
- If possible, affix a security cable and lock from the panels to below roof level to the roof trusses.
- Do not leave ladders or other items around the house that make it easier for unscrupulous parties to gain access to your roof.
- Engrave clear identification into the panel frames.
And for safety's sake, should you be in the unfortunate position of hearing someone scrabbling on your roof late at night, don't confront them. Call the Police.
While there is no way to stop someone who is very determined from stealing your panels, most thefts are opportunistic, so the more difficult you can make it, the more likely that the parties will give up in frustration.
Michael Bloch is a consultant for Energy Matters Australia - a green energy equipment company offering a wide range of discounted solar panels, deep cycle batteries, wind turbines and associated accessories for residential, businesses and schools. The Energy Matters site contains a wide range of resources; including a solar power system builder tool, renewable energy rebates information and free advice on off grid and grid connect solar and wind power systems.