Solar Panels Theft on the California Bay Area

Let me see if we can get there on the side…
Even if you hold the top job in the school district, the top of one of your schools is not place you often go.
In fact this is the first time Jefferson Union Superintendent Michael Crilly has not been on the roof of High School since thieves were up here this past winter.
During their visit, they walked away with more than 100 of the school’s solar panels worth roughly $50,000.
They just take them right off.

Not Hard at All to Steal Panels

Crilly’s reaction when he first heard of the theft was understandable when the commons steal from the school, you know. That’s, that’s the lowest of the low. Right now, through, he’s a bit surprised. Surprised just how easy it all looks.
When you get up here and you look at these, they are remarkably easy to take apart. Sadly simple. And sadly becoming more common.

How Common is Solar Panels Theft

Agobian is president of solar Insure, a southern California company that specializes in insuring renewable energy system. He says, We’re seeing a rise in solar panel theft in California over the past 2 years, solar panel theft shot up 26%. In the bay area, there have been thefts for multiple wineries in Napa valley as well as multiple schools in the East Bay. The common denominator among them seems to be large installations not very visible to the general public.
Here at the Pacific School, it wasn’t until a member of the installation team came back to the site did anyone notice anything was wrong. And that could have been a full 2 weeks after the theft. It’s one reason police have made few arrest in these cases and recovered even fewer panels.

Who Are The Immediate Suspects for the Panels Theft?

Investigators are the first to admit they really don’t know who’s behind then. They say some way be showing up on Craigslist and Ebay but without any serial number database to check, no one can really be sure. Agobian, though, has an idea what’s happening.
It seems that the theft is being caused by people with industry knowledge. They know where the cameras are being installed and they know how to take the panels.
Agobian figures many of the stolen panels have likely ended up in the homes of people more than happy to get a good deal on solar panels but not wanting to ask too many questions. He says fencing, alarms and security cameras are now becoming necessary additions to solar panel array. Meaning the real impact of this crime wave will likely be making the switch to solar panels, already expensive, even more so.


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