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Theft of Solar Panels on the Rise

By Paul Darin
Epoch Times Staff
Created: September 16, 2012 Last Updated: September 18, 2012
Related articles: United States » National News
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Indian villagers look at solar panels in the village of Gunthawada, Banaskantha district October 14. As the popularity of green technologies grows, solar panels have become targets for thieves who can sell them on the black market. (Sam Panthaky/AFP/Getty Images)

Indian villagers look at solar panels in the village of Gunthawada, Banaskantha district October 14. As the popularity of green technologies grows, solar panels have become targets for thieves who can sell them on the black market. (Sam Panthaky/AFP/Getty Images)

Green technologies are a part of the changing energy community, but recently, a growing trend has developed: theft of solar panels. The solar panel thefts have been a puzzling problem over the past few months and have hit the domestic and international markets, both public and private. 

Just about anything can be sold on the black market, and as the demand for alternative energies rises, thefts have become a growing problem.

India has already had its share of solar panel thefts, as it is in the middle of a developing solar market for increased alternative urban power.

“Theft of battery and solar panel is a major problem facing the authorities in implementing the solar electrification program,” said a Science, Technology, and Environment Minister Joy Gobinda Debroy, according to the Assam Tribune.

Africa has had its share of thefts. Approximately 25 panels were stolen from the Botswana Telecommunications Corporation in Kweneng, Botswana, this past August. Two arrests were made regarding the thefts.

North America was also hit in the month of August. Meaghers Grant, Nova Scotia, was robbed of four expensive solar panels worth a total of $20,000. The panels were taken from highway construction signs off Route 357. 

The United States is certainly no exception in these thefts, an expensive solar panel worth $1,400 was nabbed from a farm field near Concord, N.H., in August.

However, in early September, approximately 30 solar panels were taken from a solar farm, solar array alongside Route 44 in North Carver, Mass. The solar farm stretches 600 feet, or about two football fields, and provides 99 kilowatts of power, which enables the city’s water treatment facility almost 100 percent, saving taxpayers about $3,000 per month. 

“Someone cut a fence to gain access to the site, dismantled the panels, and used a vehicle to carry them away,” said Carver Police Chief Michael Miksch, according to the Boston Globe.

Each solar panel cost about $500, while on the black market they can sell for about $200, according to Miksch. The company SolareAmerica plans on increasing security at the site to respond to the thefts.

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