In an unfortunate development, on the 1st of April, just as we were effecting a change in operations and maintenance contractors, we discovered that thieves had broken in and stolen £10,000 of spare solar panels stored at the Braydon site. Fortunately, we have adequate insurance and the loss should be completely covered but it does seem disconcerting that such an organised gang of thieves could evade our CCTV, break a lock and load up a lorry with 62 solar panels in calm Wiltshire, all the while going unnoticed. It goes to show how valuable clean energy is and that there is now evidently an established black market for solar panels. And it also underscores the importance of protecting our assets.
The police have not found any relevant leads yet.
While still isolated in their frequency, reported incidents of thefts of solar panels from ground-mount solar farms have become more common in the past couple of years. People working in solar energy are trying to do good and it is infuriating to see people stealing and capitalising on that goodness. Robberies tend to happen in solar arrays like ours that are situated outside residential areas. Organised gangs pull up in their lorries at night and then make a quick escape. Experience has shown that thieves will target anything they think can be sold on for a quick profit — from livestock to tractors and now solar panels.