Solar Panels Are Vanishing


#1

DESERT HOT SPRINGS, Calif. — Solar power, with its promise of emissions-free renewable energy, boasts a growing number of fans. Some of them, it turns out, are thieves.

Just ask Glenda Hoffman, whose fury has not abated since 16 solar panels vanished from her roof in this sun-baked town in three separate burglaries in May, sometimes as she slept. She is ready if the criminals turn up again.
“I have a shotgun right next to the bed and a .22 under my pillow,” Ms. Hoffman said.
Police departments in California — the biggest market for solar power, with more than 33,000 installations — are seeing a rash of such burglaries, though nobody compiles overall statistics.

I was reading the other day that this is the new target for those who have been stealing copper.


#2

Just ask Glenda Hoffman, whose fury has not abated since 16 solar panels vanished from her roof in this sun-baked town in three separate burglaries in May, sometimes as she slept.

I don’t understand this! Solar panels are large, heavy, very clumsy to handle and installed so as to be able to withstand serious winds. Removing the things is a large-scale, time-consuming, task that would be noisy (especially inside the home) and very visible to passersby.

Maybe this is part of the explanation:

For Tom McCalmont, president of Regrid Power, a solar installation business near San Jose, the problem hit home in late June. His own headquarters was struck by thieves, who took more than $30,000 worth of panels from the roof.

The panels were disassembled expertly, he said, leading him to suspect that someone in the solar industry had done it. He urges clients to install video cameras and alarms for their solar arrays, and likens his own revamped security system to Fort Knox.

But even with enough people with the right expertise - an inside job - it wouldn’t be quick or quiet.


#3

I’ve had sheet piling, H-Piling, man hole castings and anything else you can think of stolen from projects. These folks come with lots of bodies and machinery sometimes. Quick in and out.


#4

[quote=“tperkins2009, post:3, topic:28868”]
I’ve had sheet piling, H-Piling, man hole castings and anything else you can think of stolen from projects. These folks come with lots of bodies and machinery sometimes. Quick in and out.
[/quote]I was watching one of those home builder shows and they were building a log cabin and some of the logs were stolen. These people had put up security cameras so they found who took the logs. The fellow who did it had a regular machine to pick the logs up and he had been suspected of stealing others building supplies.


#5

I just saying that stealing properly installed solar panels - like I have on my roof - on an occupied dwelling is different from stealing stacked/stored materials from an unoccupied job site. Even with enough trained people, proper equipment and suitable transport, the process would be very visible to passersby and very audible to home occupants, and sufficiently time-consuming for the police to catch them if reported fairly quickly.


#6

Green energy = Liberal. Green Company owner = Liberal on the Government hand out list. I’m sure they all hire nothing but the best Undocumented Immigrants to do their installations.


#7

I don’t know if this still goes on but landscapers would come in and steal the trees right off the home construction sites.


#8

[quote=“PeteS_in_CA, post:2, topic:28868”]
I don’t understand this! Solar panels are large, heavy, very clumsy to handle and installed so as to be able to withstand serious winds. Removing the things is a large-scale, time-consuming, task that would be noisy (especially inside the home) and very visible to passersby.

Maybe this is part of the explanation:
But even with enough people with the right expertise - an inside job - it wouldn’t be quick or quiet.
[/quote]It could be they target people who are not home. That could include those that take a trip and notify the post office or are in the hospital. I suppose if someone questions them they give a false work order or something to neighbors.


#9

A friend I have, when she had her new house built, the builders came in later to pick up the pile of topsoil that had been removed from where the house had been built. She wanted to know what they were doing, and they said they needed it for another project they were working on. She said, “That’s my topsoil, and if you take it, you pay for it.” They left it. But I’m sure it wouldn’t always be settled that easily. And that was late 50’s-early 60’s.

And of course, they would have charged the people they stole it for.


#10

That was still going on in the eighties.


#11

I don’t doubt it. Is probably still going on.


#12

[quote=“Susanna, post:9, topic:28868”]
A friend I have, when she had her new house built, the builders came in later to pick up the pile of topsoil that had been removed from where the house had been built. She wanted to know what they were doing, and they said they needed it for another project they were working on. She said, “That’s my topsoil, and if you take it, you pay for it.” They left it. But I’m sure it wouldn’t always be settled that easily. And that was late 50’s-early 60’s.

And of course, they would have charged the people they stole it for.
[/quote]One thing I have found out through the years is when I get work done that the company takes the old stuff and salvages it for money.


#13

This is probably an insurance scam, the copper is worth more than the power they provide after you factor the cost and the subsidy.

The minute the subsidy disappears the solar power industry will disappear, or become available for 30 percent of the current cost.


#14

[quote=“RET423, post:13, topic:28868”]
This is probably an insurance scam, the copper is worth more than the power they provide after you factor the cost and the subsidy.

The minute the subsidy disappears the solar power industry will disappear, or become available for 30 percent of the current cost.
[/quote]I believe that is so myself. A couple of years ago I had a workman who was doing something for me tell me the price of copper was going down but yet today I still see in the local paper where people’s copper plumbing is being stolen.


#15

We certainly do that when we replace air conditioners, unless the customer makes other arrangements with us ahead of time, but that is factored into the price.


#16

[quote=“qixlqatl, post:15, topic:28868”]
We certainly do that when we replace air conditioners, unless the customer makes other arrangements with us ahead of time, but that is factored into the price.
[/quote]In fact that same senario happened to me just recently. I had a coil replaced for the air conditioner and the fellow asked me if he could take it but usually when I get work done such as replace an appliance they take the old unit. To me that is a service I like because otherwise I have to find a way to dispose of it.


#17

When I had my house resided, they asked me if I wanted to keep the left-over siding, and I said yes. There was no “old stuff”. And in the case of topsoil, that’s not “old stuff,” either. That’s perfectly good stuff, and the contractor was going to take it and sell it.


#18

A guy I worked with always took two weeks vacation in the summer to travel and never had a problem with thieves. One summer he thought maybe he should notify the police department. Wouldn’t you know that was the first time his house was burglarized.

.


#19

I am not surprised in the least.


#20

Solar panels are still developing. Much like computers and smartphones, they will be mainstreamed and made available for cheaper. It’s the process of developing a product. The subsidies are not helping and are keeping them artificially low preventing the need for advancements in the production.