Instances of solar farm theft have risen dramatically over the last two years, correlating with both the rising costs of compound metals and the increased number of solar farms across the UK.
Criminals are targetting both the solar panels and any associated equipment such as cables and power investors - all of which have high resale values.
Recent examples of solar farm theft include a farm in North Wales that had 160 panels stolen, a farm in Noth Yorkshire where kilometres of cabling were stolen and a Lincolnshire farm where 220 panels were taken.
Below, WCCTV highlights the growing need for enhanced security at Solar Farms and key recommendations for preventing crimes such as theft, trespass and vandalism.
Rising crime rates and the high value of assets at solar farms heighten the need for better security so site owners and businesses can protect their investments.
Solar farm thieves are becoming more organised in their approach, and sites without adequate security will be easy pickings - leaving owners with an expensive bill.
However, the impact of solar farm crime goes further than just the physical loss of materials.
Any theft or damage at solar farms will impact operational continuity, leaving businesses facing the challenge of lost revenues for the period they are non-operational.
Moreover, solar farms are becoming increasingly part of our critical national infrastructure, providing power for millions of users. Ensuring they avoid the disruption any outages could cause is vitally important.
WCCTV is the UK's leading supplier of managed CCTV systems for Critical National Infrastructure protection; we explore the key ways to protect against crime below.
The most effective ways of boosting security and reducing crime at solar farms include:
Installing perimeter fencing: Reducing access to your farms will help ward off opportunist criminals such as trespassers and vandals.
Install motion-activated security lights: Criminals prefer to operate under cover of darkness; installing security lighting removes this opportunity. Motion-activated security lights are preferable as they use less energy, have a startling effect on criminals, and don't draw unwelcome attention to your sites.
Install monitored, overt CCTV systems: An overt CCTV system will act as a visual deterrent to criminals; however, unmonitored cameras only serve to record activity rather than prevent it. That's why WCCTV backs its rapid deployment CCTV systems with remote video monitoring services that help to protect sites proactively.
Warning signs: Once you have taken steps to protect your sites, warn criminals that your sites are protected by installing signage around your sites. This will make them think twice and move to another target.
Remotely monitored CCTV is a cost-effective, reliable and proactive way of securing your solar farms. Monitoring can be provided 24/7 or just when your staff are off-site.
If a motion is detected at your sites, live CCTV images are sent to our NSI Gold accredited monitoring partners, who will initiate a remote crime prevention response.
This response includes issuing live audio challenges via the speakers built into a WCCTV rapid deployment CCTV Tower and despatching local police to the site.
As part of our response, you will receive a notification of the activity and a full report detailing actions taken by WCCTV's team.
We have previously detailed the many benefits of remote video monitoring services; you can read a detailed overview here.
Remote monitoring transforms a CCTV camera from a passive recording device to a proactive crime prevention tool.
At WCCTV, we firmly believe a passive approach to security only fuels criminality, so we focus so heavily on preventive crime measures.
The key benefits of remote monitoring include:
Remote monitoring can be activated whenever you need it - 24/7, overnight or during unmanned hours
Real-time live voice-down alerts will help deter trespassers before they access or damage your site
Our accredited operators verify activity before contacting police, ensuring a priority response
Reduces your requirement to deal with security out of hours
Complete transparency on the effectiveness of your CCTV system
WCCTV is the UK's leading provider of managed CCTV systems for remote sites, including solar farms.
We supply our own manufactured CCTV Towers supported by a comprehensive service that includes a site survey, equipment installation, regular maintenance, remote video monitoring, proactive response and monthly reporting.
We can provide our CCTV systems regardless of your onsite power and internet availability as they are completely autonomous solutions.
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