Recently, there have been some reports in California news about solar panel theft in California. These incidents are still relatively rare, since a) you have to know what you’re doing to be removing solar panels from the electrical grid, and 2) your home has to be pretty isolated for your neighbors not to wonder why your new solar panels are being removed by a guy in an unmarked pick-up truck.
All that being said, there are larger commercial, roof and ground-mounted systems that are more susceptible to solar panel theft. Why? Two reasons. They’re on the ground or on a flat roof, for one, so they’re easier to manage than a home’s sloping roof. Secondly, they’re located in commercial or remote areas that are typically isolated at night and on weekends.
Of course, whether the panels you bought are for residential or commercial applications, you still want to protect your investment. There are some hardware solutions on the market today, but there’s an even simpler solution that will give solar thieves pause:
It’s called WEICONLOCK, and it’s a super-strong, fast-curing adhesive/sealant that is specifically made for metal parts. This high quality anaerobic adhesives and sealant is composed of special methacrylate resins that are specifically made for economical thread locking, as well as retaining and sealing of threaded, cylindrical and pipe assemblies.
Because WEICONLOCK is effective with chrome, zinc, nickel, stainless steel and/or aluminum, the product can be used with any racking assembly or solar mounting hardware, whether for Solar PV or Solar Thermal collectors.
How does it work? The characteristic feature of WEICONLOCK is in its curing. The cement remains liquid as long as it is in contact with air. Thus, curing does not start until the adhesive on the jointed parts comes into contact with metal and is deprived of air.
Thus, when WEICONLOCK is applied to solar mounting hardware and the mounting bolts are tightened, it becomes impossible to dissemble. To do so, a blowtorch must be heated to 350 C to soften the material and remove the bolts.
And the cost for such hardcore security? A 20 ml WEICONLOCK pen will secure a typical solar array for under $15.
WEICONLOCK is available in 20, 50 and 200 ml sizes. For more information, see Free Hot Water’s web page and order item FHWM-AA-600.
So if you or your solar customers are worried about solar panel theft, get some peace of mind for around $15.
Not a bad idea, and cost-effective. But what happens if you need to disassemble your system for maintenance, or some other reason?
As mentioned in the post, you’re going to need a blow torch. As you know, solar systems, including solar hot water collectors, are pretty maintenance free. Hopefully, you’ve chosen a quality installer with quality parts that will only be routine cleaning maintenance where nothing has to be removed.
That being said, this WEICON system may not be good for micro inverter solar PV systems, as they are warrantied for 15 years, so it would be labor intensive if the inverters cannot be easily removed. Central inverters are installed away from the solar panels, so no worries there.
Hope that helps.