Jacob Mutisi Zimbabwe’s drive for green and renewable energy has pushed for the growth of the off-grid energy sector over the last decade.
This has been one of Zimbabwe’s social and economic success stories, which is transforming lives overnight by bringing power to low-income households and small businesses, reaching remote areas with little prospect of ever being connected to the national Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) grid.
Zimbabwe is blessed with sunlight all year round and citizens are tapping this free and clean energy source to light up homes and industry. This progress does not come with negative elements. In Zimbabwe solar panel theft is on the rise driven by the nation’s demand for power that is not interrupted by the load-shedding and power cuts that are common.
Since 2011, solar panel costs continue to fall, the price of re-installation has fallen even faster than installation costs, solar is becoming more and more popular with most new homeowners, but it is also beginning to attract an unscrupulous element.
In Zimbabwe, the motive for most criminals on the theft of the panels is the ease of them to resell.
Solar panels are valuable and unfortunately the more unscrupulous in our society have realised that too.
There has been a marked increase in solar panel theft and people have been losing thousands of dollars worth of equipment in single incidents.
While these incidents are so common, Zimbabwe’s insurance companies do not cover solar equipment under home contents insurance policy and do not compensate for the trauma of being a victim of theft.
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As a way of protecting your solar equipment, especially solar panels, with a little bit of ingenuity and commonsense. Zimbabweans can certainly minimise the risk of solar equipment theft.
Have you had your solar panel stolen? Here are the theft security tips.
Install GPS trackers on the solar panel or equipment
Mark your solar panels. Engrave clear identification into the panel frames
Do not ever boast about how much your solar panels are worth. You may attract unwanted attention
Use anti-theft fixtures.
Chain and lock the panels together using heavy gauge nylon coated wire.
Fix security cables and lock panels below roof level.
Do not leave ladders or other items around the house. These make it easier for criminals to gain access to panels on the roof.
Due to the shortage of foreign currency in the country and constant power cuts, the use of solar power for agriculture, household lighting and other household use, needs to be encouraged in order to accelerate local development and lay the basis for rural job creation. Solar energy and deployment of off-grid power for commercial or industrial uses to create and improve local value chains, diversify livelihoods and reduce vulnerability to external shocks would have an even more profound social and economic impact in Zimbabwe.
There is now a need for Zimbabweans to protect the solar system infrastructure that is keeping their systems working throughout their daily lives.
There is also a need for the nation’s ICT professional to develop securities that will protect Zimbabwe’s solar systems from theft and also to provide local tracking systems to track the local solar panels when stolen. here is also a suggestion to have a solar panel registration system to track and identify stolen solar panels.
Due to the increased theft of solar panels, let us work together to protect the equipment that keeps us going on a daily basis.
- For more information call/WhatsApp +263772278161
- Mutisi is the CEO of Hansole Investments (Pvt) Ltd and the current chairperson of Zimbabwe Information & Communication Technology, a division of Zimbabwe Institution for Engineers.