As solar power gains popularity throughout the world, solar panel theft is becoming more of a problem, too. Foreign Policy reports that “Missing panels have been reported this year in Australia, Spain, and the United States, but it’s in the developing world where solar theft has been most glaring.” Thieves frequently take panels in Africa and Latin America, sometimes destroying entire solar installations in the process.
The problem made headlines in June, after Barack Obama’s Kenyan grandmother was the victim of an attempted solar panel robbery, according to the International Herald Tribune. South Africa reportedly abandoned plans to convert traffic lights to solar power because of the fear of theft. Some companies are stepping up efforts to protect the expensive equipment, but as the technology disperses, the problem will likely remain.