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Solar Installations now prone to Theft, will Liquid DNA change the scenario

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German Solar Market and the rising Solar theft

Germany is the world’s top PV installer, with a solar PV capacity of more than 32.3 GW as of December 2012. The German Solar Panels
new solar PV installations increased by about 7.6 GW in 2012, and solar PV provided 18 TWh of electricity in 2011, about 3% of total electricity. Some market analysts expect this could reach 25 percent by 2050. Germany has a goal of producing 35% of electricity from renewable sources by 2020 and 100% by 2050. Source: Wikipedia

Read more about Germany Solar Energy Market.

Solar theft has become very common in Germany. As many as 14 cases have already been reported about solar panels being stolen from solar parks in Brandenburg state. Around 130 solar modules were stolen from Berlin. Germany is the largest country in terms of solar installations and investments. 22% of Germany’s power is generated from renewable energy, one-fourth of which is provided by solar energy. Germany aspires to be the world leader in terms of solar installations. Since so much is put at stake for Germany, it cannot afford theft of solar modules at this point. Hence it needs to be more alert and install more devices to detect such theft and stop them.

Since this trend is increasing gradually, there has been a growing market of trade in stolen solar gears and equipment because the stolen products are difficult to track and easy to sell.

Read about German Solar Panels.

During the period 2007-2009, Spain also witnessed theft in solar installations. Not only are photovoltaic modules being stolen, but there are also news of solar inverters being missing in Berlin. The large scale plants are at an increased risk of an attack shortly before they are finished, since surveillance cameras and alarms are not yet functional.

While Brandenberg police estimated the value of the thefts is about 2 million euros ($2.6 million) to date, the solar industry and its insurers are taking note of the trend and raising concerns. Police made four arrests this year, and 16 last year, Salender said.

Liquid DNA to curb Solar Theft

To curb such theft and discourage the thieves, the authorities have come out with the idea of liquid DNA. Liquid DNA contains a DNA code that makes it possible to trace the thieves. This liquid is applied to the solar products and it leaves an invisible trace. It solidifies on application, and thus only the police can see the traces under UV light and hence chase the culprits through their database. Also panels and other solar equipments are marked and hence discourages the thieves to steal them, since they do not get an attractive deal for such stolen items. Obviously tightened security, surveillance cameras and alarms need to be used. The liquid DNA mechanism is expected to be cheaper than installing surveillance cameras.

At least 14 times this year, thieves raided solar parks in Germany’s Brandenburg state, carrying off tons of photovoltaic panels in a crime that’s forcing investors in the world’s biggest solar market to tighten security.

“Even thief-proof screws didn’t stop them,” Christian Linder, of plant developer Athos Solar GmbH, said by telephone on June 3 after 130 panels on the outskirts of Berlin were detached from their foundations and carted off. “We have security staff patrolling the park now.”


Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to

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