As solar panel theft continues to rise, it is important for South African residents with solar power systems to take necessary precautions by insuring and safeguarding their valuable equipment.
According to research, solar panel theft is an alarming trend that shows no signs of decreasing. With an increasing number of South Africans striving to enhance their energy security through solar power, the risk of theft is only expected to rise further.
The rapid take on of solar power solutions has inadvertently created a booming black market for stolen solar panels and their valuable components. This illegal trade includes both entire panels and the profitable scrap value of their individual parts, further intensifying the problem of solar panel theft.
Research has shown that R3.6 billion worth of solar panels was estimated to be imported to South Africa during the first quarter of 2023. This is more than half the value of solar panel imports throughout 2022.
Solarise Africa co-founder and COO Sakkie van Wijk warned that South Africa’s booming solar power market has started to attract crooks.
According to Van Wijk, there is a concerning trend of doubtful transactions involving multiple layers of supply chains. These transactions often include unjustified markups and kickbacks, resulting in inflated project costs and compromised installations. This raises serious concerns about the integrity and transparency of certain dealings within the solar power market.
“We’ve even found large deals that were concluded with mere handshakes and absolutely no paperwork – no scope, so service level agreements, no system specifications — this is typically at least double the actual cost,” he said.
“We urge everyone in the process of adopting solar to scrutinise every aspect of the deal.”
Requirements are that:
Tips for protecting your solar equipment from being stolen:
According to security companies, they saw increased appeal among criminals towards backup energy products typically during the day whilst homeowners are at work.
In addition to the above, keep your property well-lit at all times.
The following are also recommended: