A recent attempted burglary of equipment from a 6.5MWp photovoltaic (PV) plant operated and maintained by Phoenix Solar was thwarted by a combination of the plant’s management team and local security services. The incident took place in November last year.
According to Phoenix Solar, La Solana, a ground-mounted power plant commissioned in 2008 and located around 150km south of Madrid, was approached at night by six men in a lorry who attempted to scale a fence and gain access.
Phoenix Solar had fitted security cameras at the site only recently before that and a member of the Phoenix surveillance team on-site was able to spot the attempted break-in from a control room before alerting local security guards.
Speaking to PV Tech via telephone, Joachim Fleing, head of investor relations at Phoenix Solar, said the local security were “brilliant” and on the scene within minutes. While Phoenix Solar regretted that the would-be thieves had not been apprehended and detained, the fact that no one was hurt and no equipment stolen or compromised was paramount.
Fleing said Phoenix recommends video surveillance as “the most effective form of security” to companies in similar situations. The company uses local security services alerted by Phoenix operations and maintenance teams at most of the PV installations under its O&M contracts.
While recognising that not all companies had this attitude toward security, Fleing said Phoenix considered such measures to be a “healthy investment”. Phoenix Solar performs operations and maintenance for around 200MW of PV plants under third-party management.
When asked generally about the security risks for PV plant operators, Fleing pointed out that while copper wires and modules were potentially attractive targets for thieves, copper tended to be much easier for thieves to resell on the black market and carried a higher immediate risk.