Police departments in California – the biggest market for solar power, with more than 33,000 installations – are seeing a rash of burglaries involving solar panels, the New York Times reports. Last year, someone tried to sell solar panels stolen from a toll road in Newport Beach for $100 each on eBay. Detectives from the local police department entered the bidding and won the panels, which were worth nearly $1,500 apiece. When a man showed up to hand over the panels, the police greeted him with handcuffs. The suspect’s attorney said his client had bought the panels from someone on Craigslist and then tried to resell them on eBay for a profit.
In June, Tom McCalmont, president of Regrid Power, a solar installation business near San Jose, reported that thieves had taken more than $30,000 worth of panels from his company’s 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. “This is the crime of the future,” McCalmont said.