Mass Solar Panel Theft

The Guardia Civil are investigating the theft of 1,181 solar panels from a solar farm, with a total value of 300,000 euros.

GRA Solar Panel ParkThe said solar farm is under construction on the municipal border between Pinos Puente and Íllora in the Poniente Granadino (Western Granada).

The theft was reported on the 26th but what puzzles the investigators is the logistics involved in removing over a thousand solar panels. You would need a small fleet of lorries or vans, coming and going, without anybody noticing especially the site guards.

Where do you store that many panels and above all, how do you hope to sell them after a highly publicised theft? It’s not even certain whether it took place at night or during the day.

The panels were not in place and still had to be installed on the 47-hectare park, belonging to Watt Development, based in Valencia. Furthermore, the company has hired six guards to patrol the park and not one of them saw anything. There are never fewer than two on duty on each shift.

A clue as to where the stolen panels are heading is that several years ago the Guardia Civil discovered a batch of solar panels at the Algeciras Port, ready to be shipped to North Africa; panels are stolen in Spain and sold in Africa where such power-generating systems are more productive given the intensity of the sunlight there.

Closer to home, another shipment was detected at Motril Port in 2018 and the police were able to recover 128 solar panels – they had been stolen in Italy.

Obviously, the demand for solar panels has been pushed up recently by the rocketing price of electricity, so stolen panels have become a lucrative trade.

(News: Pinos Puente/Illora, Poniente, Granada, Andalucia)

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