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Solar panel security


Jak
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So I will be fitting solar panels (and new batteries) in the spring. I've seen the kits and it doesn't look like a hard job. But I'm worried the challenge might be keeping them. What practical stuff do people on here do to deter the theft of £300 worth of roof mounted panels?

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My panels are mounted onto some very heavy wooden roof boxes and screwed down to them at the corners. Of course, someone could unscrew them, disconnect all the wires and lug them up the towpath to a waiting van, but you don't have to make them impossible to steal, just make them harder to steal than another boat's panels.

 

My 175w second hand panels were about £70 each. Probably worth about £50 off the back of the van. Not really a big money spinner for the effort needed. Honda gennys are far more nickable.

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Not sure that theft is all that common. Most people bolt them down. You could use some sort of security bolt if you're that worried. Whatever you use, a determined thief with a cordless angle grinder could still have them. Last time I heard of some being stolen, it turned out they had blown off in a high wind.

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If someone is determined then thy will have them, mine are like daves, but bolted to the wooden roof box, box is chained down, anyone with a decent saw would have them away if they so wish.

 

Something that has just popped up in my head, where do we stand with insurance on panels, do you have to inform them you have them, also if you have fitted after you took out the premium do you let them know?

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My thinking is that big panels are best - say about 220W as they are too big for a single person to carry and too big toeasily fit in a small car so a lot of trouble to steal. I can't see there being a lot a takers in the local pub either.

 

Sadly I suspect the biggest risk is from another boater. That said, big bolts are a deterrent.

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Yes- they do make stick down / walk on panels, but I don't think they are as productive as the conventional ones... We have one that is now about 6 years old, approx 3 feet by 2 feet and it max output is a pretty worthless 20 watts. Technology has moved on a lot though since these were designed (probably about 8 years ago) and that sized panel would probably push out 2 or 3 times the power.

 

Nick

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Yes- they do make stick down / walk on panels, but I don't think they are as productive as the conventional ones... We have one that is now about 6 years old, approx 3 feet by 2 feet and it max output is a pretty worthless 20 watts. Technology has moved on a lot though since these were designed (probably about 8 years ago) and that sized panel would probably push out 2 or 3 times the power.

 

Nick

Thanks

There's hope then.

I'll look into it ready for the spring.

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Technology has moved on massively. I'm going to start off with 200w (2x100) as I'm all 12v and unless on a holiday cruise we only use her at weekends. Theory being the battery will charge up ove the week, assuming no one has nicked the panels!

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Technology has moved on massively. I'm going to start off with 200w (2x100) as I'm all 12v and unless on a holiday cruise we only use her at weekends. Theory being the battery will charge up ove the week, assuming no one has nicked the panels!

Should be safe enough in a marina or other off-line location. Towpath mooring same place week after week would be more vulnerable.

Don't suppose there are any undesirables reading this forum, but a boat named Ajax moored somewhere near Aylesbury is about to get some brand new panels fitted. No-one aboard during the week!

Be careful what info you put on the net.

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Are there panels that'll stick down flat and don't mind being walked on?

We have one of these 68w ones and am going to add a second. Trackman has had three for several years - they work well with an MPPT controller.

http://midsummerenergy.co.uk/buy/flexible-solar-panels

They may be cheaper on Bimble - they are also a lot more aesthetically pleasing than the rigid panels (there speaks a designer!!).

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I have a 140w semi flexible panel (from bimble) fitted and will say that if you fit it closely to a steel roof it will withstand occasionally walking on it.

 

the key to success is that the panel most not be able to bend when stood on, if it can move under weight you will destroy it by walking on it.

 

Mine is fixed in a way that would allow it to move / bend if weight was put on it so I don't walk on it, however having such a thin panel glued down does mean that I can throw lines around without having to worry about them getting caught on a solar panel, also being glued down makes them a much less attractive target to thieves because pulling them off will probably destroy them

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Yer i put some chains on but like a lot of people doo.

 

Fing is if they want your solar panels they'le avem.

 

Chain's make a noise at night and if your brave enough or daft enough you can always go outside with a long stick what you forgot to chop into kindling. :-)

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Are there panels that'll stick down flat and don't mind being walked on?

Yes, but you'll pay a bit more watt for watt compared to a rigid panel. Probably a 20 - 30% premium and they're generally slightly lower output per unit area.

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Hmmm. It's not near Aylesbury now, but anyone browsing my posts for a few mins could work out exactly where our mooring is sad.png

I don't think that solar panels are much of a target for professional thieves. It's more of a spur of the moment thing.

 

Mine are bolted down with security bolts, these are certainly removable but a passing thief is unlikely to have the correct tool. A battery powered angle grinder would probably be too noisy.

 

If the worst happens, my panels are covered by my insurance.

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