The transition towards cleaner energy has gathered real momentum over the past few years. With nations across the globe looking to drastically reduce their annual carbon emissions in order to stem the tide of climate change, many are looking to greener alternatives for their energy. Solar farms provide one such solution, but these are valuable assets and in the modern world, energy needs securing.
The team here at Stok K9 Security Services, which offers a comprehensive solar farm security service, wanted to examine why these light-traps have become such a honeypot for ‘shadier’ individuals…
Now, it’s worth noting that a house with a few solar panels on its roof doesn’t constitute a solar farm. Solar farms are sites where a large number of photovoltaic solar panels. They’re set up to generate electricity on a more industrial scale than domestic solar panels are able to.
Not only do these sites provide electricity on what could be a truly national scale – an average solar farm will be able to generate enough electricity to power thousands of homes (in fact, a recently greenlit solar park in Kent will reportedly power almost 100,000 homes) – but they’re able to be integrated into the natural environment more seamlessly than perhaps any other energy producing method.
In terms of scale, these farms can range from smaller-scale, ‘one-field’, more ‘organic’ agri-offerings, to the truly huge solar ‘parks’, whose seemingly endless ranks of solar panels are more corporate in their organisation and setup; we’re quite literally talking about thousands of acres of paneling, in some instances. Regardless of the farm’s size, however, there’s a clear need for solar farm security. That need is only going to become a more pertinent moving forward.
Solar parks provide cleaner energy and the global need for cleaner energy is something which is only going to increase moving forward; in response to this need, yes, there will be more solar farms in the future (we hope). Meanwhile, the more advanced technology becomes, the more efficient and effective these solar sites will be. However, in many ways, developing technologies present something of a double-edged sword; solar farms have very low maintenance and operational costs when compared to other energy-generation sources, but if technology continues to advance, then these costs will rise.
What does this developing technology look like? Well, recent advancements in solar technology have seen ‘bifacial modules’ (which are, in essence, double-sided solar panels) being touted to become ‘the next big thing’ in the world of solar power. On the one hand, this is fantastic because it would facilitate the generation of more clean power. On the other hand, however, it means that even more expensive equipment will be situated in one location. As technology improves, so too will the security risks at any given solar farm. For energy firms, both now and in the future, being able to comprehensively mitigate this risk is going to be essential.
Solar panels are valuable pieces of technology. For example, it cost a staggering £37 million to construct Kencot Solar Farm, one of the UK’s larger solar farms. Whilst criminal resale value would be less than this, it reflects the high-worth technology that solar farms house. Solar paneling is, to modern thieves, what ‘lead on the church roof’ was to criminals half a century ago; it’s incredibly valuable and, in their minds, certainly worth stealing. These sites, if left unprotected, are likely to be targeted by criminals. They place a large number of high basket-value items neatly in one location – they’re easy pickings.
The fact that these farms are almost exclusively base in rural settings, away from heavily populated areas, presents yet another tick mark for thieves, should these sites ever be left unguarded.
It’s not just the panels themselves that are valuable to would-be thieves; the equipment that underpins their functioning – cabling and other raw materials, for instance – are huge financial incentives for criminals. Every part can be used to generate illegitimate gains.
What, then, are the best ways to guarantee a solar farm’s security? There are various options available, the combination of which makes for a truly watertight security solution. These services include:
Real-time video surveillance using the most up-to-date mobile data solutions. Our smart CCTV security systems utilise geofencing technologies, automatic re-alignments and an in-built tannoy deterrent.
Operatives carrying out regular patrols at regularly scheduled intervals (as well as in response to any incidents). Our dogs undergo an extensive vetting process; they are trained in line with The Guard Dogs Act 1975, The Dangerous Dog Act 1991 and BS8517-1, the highest standard for dogs and dog handlers.
Consultancy. Our years of industry experience means that we’re well placed to deal with security threats, both traditional and emerging. Security is a dynamic discipline that’s always changing, and so your security provisions should be adaptable as well.
Part of our ethos as a security firm is to make sure that we provide the most cost-effective solution, whilst ensuring that a site is truly safe. Whilst many companies try and up-sell when it comes to their security offering, here at Stok K9 Security Services we believe that your security should form an affordable part of your overall pricing model. With our firm, you’ll get the security you need, and that’s ultimately all that ever really matters.