In this guide, we will take a look at the different ways you can secure your Solar Farm and what benefits there are from securing your site pre and post construction.
With the ever-increasing demand for green energy, a record number of Solar Farms are being approved by the government; 117gw of large-scale Solar Farm projects are either currently under construction or in development.
To put this into context, 1GW of electricity is enough to power about 750,000 homes, depending on the amount of energy each home uses.
An increase in Solar Farms is great news for the environment, but Solar Farms face the inevitable risks of theft and vandalism with high-value items and materials on site pre and post-construction.
This is why Solar Farm security is increasingly one of the most pressing issues facing the critical infrastructure industry.
What is a Solar Farm?
A solar farm is where lots of solar panels are placed in one central location to gather energy from the sun. They are strategically positioned to harness as much of the sun’s energy throughout the day as possible. Some are even mounted to rotatable axis’ so they can ‘follow the sun’ and increase the amount of energy being produced.
The largest Solar Farm in the United States is Solar Star located in Kern and Los Angeles, CA, which stretches over 8 miles and generates enough energy to power nearly 255,000 homes.
Where are Solar Farms typically built?
Solar Farms are usually built on rural, flat land where sunlight is in abundance, the panels are usually south-facing so they can gather as much energy from the sun as possible. Sizes of Solar Farms vary dramatically from 1 acre to over 8 acres.
The biggest Solar Farm in the world is The Bhadla Solar Park based in the Thar Desert of Rajasthan, India, which covers 13,837 acres (56 square kilometers) and produces 2,245 MegaWatts.
What are the security risks of a Solar Farm?
There are lots of security threats that solar farms face, ranging from trespassing to the solar panels themselves being stolen. Crimes like these aren’t uncommon at these large sites with various crimes like:
Solar panel theft
Damage to equipment
Cable and metal theft
And many more. Setting up a Solar Farm is costly, so reducing risks with amped-up security and surveillance is a no-brainer.
Security Risks to Solar Farms in the Construction Phase
Construction of a Solar Farm can take anywhere from one year to three or four years, sometimes even longer depending upon the size, so it’s always good to protect highly valuable machinery and equipment as well as:
Onsite fuel like diesel
How do you secure a Solar Farm?
With these locations typically being built in remote locations, the risk of material and asset theft is high.
That being said, there are several ways to protect your site, pre-construction, and make it more difficult to steal from.
Solar Surveillance Trailers
Solar surveillance trailers are the ultimate mobile video surveillance solution.
They are portable and, just like the Solar Farms they are protecting, they are fully autonomous meaning they can be deployed and relocated at ease within minutes, allowing you to quickly bring cameras, lights, audio, and other security devices wherever they are needed.
Due to the remote location of most Solar Farms you’ll need a Mini Dome Surveillance Trailer that has:
Should I rent or buy a Solar Surveillance Trailer?
This is a question we get asked daily. We always suggest looking at the benefits of renting a Solar Surveillance Trailer or buying one. Some of the major benefits of renting a Surveillance Trailer are:
Immediate cost savings: Renting means you are only paying for surveillance when you need it
Easier procurement process: Getting sign off for rental can be much easier than sign off for buying
Convenience: Everything is taken care of. There is no need to set up or worry about storing
Latest equipment: You’ll always receive the latest equipment and up-to-date technology
Rapid deployment: Quicker, easier, and cheaper than a fixed camera, with no delays to your project
Fully managed service: As part of any rental agreement, we’ll provide a managed service that includes equipment installation, alarm monitoring, maintenance, and ongoing technical support.
This one seems an obvious one, but it's all about the type of perimeter fencing you want. Does it need to be anti-climb or heavy-duty? Does it need a mesh cover so intruders won't be able to see inside before entering?
Either way, you should have a comprehensive fence around your solar farm.
Where possible, try to have access control at a single entrance and exit point to the solar farm; this would require employees and visitors to show their ID or sign in to gain entry. If visitors are on site, then they should be accompanied at all times.
Security Lighting will help deter crime, assist patrols, and make the area feel safer at night. LED lights are the best to illuminate an area, but security lights should be used for any low-light areas and any hidden points across the site.
Motion Activated Lighting
Security lights are great but can be costly to run throughout the night. Consider using motion-activated security lights, which come fitted with an infrared sensor and will trigger the automation of the light switching on for a set period.
Having large clear signs around the site will help show potential intruders that your site is well secured, and they have a higher chance of being caught. If you are deploying surveillance cameras or mobile surveillance trailers, advertising that these are on-site is usually enough to keep criminals away.
Manned Security Stations
Patrol guards or manned security is another way to protect your solar farm, although these have downfalls. For example, thieves can track and monitor patrols to gain valuable information on when guards will be in a particular area.
There’s also the expensive cost of a 24/7 manned security patrol, so it may be beneficial to look at the savings of surveillance cameras vs. security guards.
What are the benefits of Solar Farm Security?
Solar farms need high protection security due to trespassing, vandalism, arson, and organized crime.
If effective security is not in place then the ongoing maintenance and repairs can begin to mount and eat into any profits your solar farm may be making.
Surveillance Cameras with a professional remote monitoring team is one of the best ways to protect your site.
How do you prevent solar panel theft?
Unsurprisingly, solar panels are one of the most targeted items to steal at solar farms. But there are ways to prevent this:
Install motion detection security lighting
Install a secure perimeter fence
Install locks or locking fasteners to your solar panels
Link your solar panel racks together
Alarm your solar panels
Protect your Solar Farm with Surveillance Cameras
As we’ve discovered, you can protect your Solar Farm in many ways.
Still, we believe the most rigorous and reliable solution is with Mobile Solar Surveillance Trailers and a remote video monitoring service.
They are a budget-efficient, reliable, and rapid deployment solution for temporary or longer-term security when are where you need it most.