Stolen solar panels are turning up on the second-hand market with increasing regularity. Thieves looking to make a quick buck may rip off panels from homes, businesses and even utilities, and then sell them to unsuspecting consumers. Purchasers may not even be aware that the solar panels are “hot,” because Craig’s List and similar classified ad sites do not include a rating system for sellers.
Interest in installing solar panels to defray electricity costs and reduce carbon footprints has lead to a growing second-hand solar panel market. Used solar panels can be found on the Internet and probably even around your hometown.
If you don’t want to get caught in the middle of a theft ring, be sure to purchase from a reliable, reputable source.
Retailing for approximately $1500 a piece, the panels may be offered at bargain discount rates if they are stolen solar panels. And just because they are in good shape doesn’t necessarily mean that they are legit. Some people in the solar panel industry have been caught in the theft rings, utilizing their knowledge of assembly and dis-assembly.
To prevent becoming a target of solar panel thieves, home and business owners have been installing security video cameras and alarms. In Europe, where solar power is more entrenched, some even engrave serial numbers on panels and use hard to unscrew versions.
A solar energy investment is at the level of purchasing a new, luxury car. In a single swipe, you can lose $30-50,000 worth of panels, depending on the system and your location. Schools, government buildings and even highway signs are all potential targets.
Have you been the victim of solar panel thieves? How would you guard against stolen solar panels?