could solar panels make you a target?

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skyfall's picture
skyfall
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could solar panels make you a target?

One of the downsides I see to having an array of solar panels on your roof is that it's a blatant advertisement that you have something that others do not (electricity) in a severe collapse.  I can't help but think that it makes you a bit of a target...

What are your thoughts?

davefairtex's picture
davefairtex
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me too

skyfall-

I've often wondered that too.  Another thing that would seem to make you a target - having battery-powered lights on in your house when every other single house in your neighborhood is dark.

 

Yoxa's picture
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Other things that might make you a target
  • A vehicle that runs.
  • The sound of a generator; other sounds.
  • The glow of a fire, or smoke.
  • The smell of food cooking
  • Dressing well when others' clothes are shabby.
  • Unusually good boots or shoes (origin of the phrase "well heeled")
  • Stable body weight when others are hungry.

 

GM_Man's picture
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Big Item Missed

Location, Location, Location

Proximity to a major road or highway will make you a target of convenience.  So even though I live in a rural location, the fact that I am close to a major road makes me a target.  Having a driveway that is maintained makes me a target.  Having a small pond with overflow going toward the road makes me a target.  Having large apple trees will make me a target.  Having a large garden will make me a target.

But the over-riding reason that I WILL be targeted is that my home can be seen from the road and a small group of desperate folks would easily consider us a target of convenience.  

This is the case in a severe collapse as well as just very difficult times.  No money means no water, no food, no shelter!  That equals desperation.  The more folks who are desperate, the more likely that they will attempt an act of desperation.

If this sounds like you, plan accordingly.   ;-)

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Trun87114
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Targets

It is unfortunate but I believe things as PV panels (and some of the others mentioned) could make one a target if the SHTF.  Even in a less dramatic scenario, they could look pretty tempting to thieves.  Heck, guys have been stripping out and stealing copper piping for years now.  

That said, I think the reward outweighs the risk.  If the SHTF would you prefer to be a potential target or would you prefer to be without water, food, power, etc.  As a previous poster mentioned, one can take steps to make oneself a hard target.

FWIW, I've been very happy with the ROI on my PV system so far.  I should hit my payback point at about the 13 year mark.  And that is in the unlikely scenario in which electricity prices do not rise over the next decade.

T

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Community protection

I think the best protection is knowing your neighbors.  As things go south watch for opportunities to help those around you even if it means weakening your overall resilience (e.g. dipping into stored food to feed an unprepared neighbor).  At the risk of broaching a controversial subject, I'm surprised by how many people consider owning a few guns their main line of home defense.  To be sure I am not anti-gun, but I also don't think they will help as much as proponents expect.  A gun is not a defensive tool, it's an offensive weapon.  Unless you have the gun with you at all times it is more of a liability than an asset and if you do have it with you at all times there are other safety concerns.  Furthermore, if someone was planning to attack your house to take what you have chances are they too will be armed and they won't show up alone.  It's impossible to defend all sides of your home at once.  Well engaged in a stand off with a gunman out front, someone else can break in your back door.

I say get the solar panels, grow the garden, build a stockpile of long-term-storage food.  Don't flaunt what you have, and come what may you will be better off.  If someone sees your panels as a chance to charge an old iPod and hear some music for a few minutes, invite them in and offer them a beer while they're there.  Now you have one more ally.  Most people are inherently good.

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could solar panels make you a target

Actually being a solar target for the sun is the best idea. Not certain that an Armegeddon event would produce a host of 'night of the living dead' zombies descending upon all the solar powered people. But you can bet that if I see them coming down my street, I'll jump up on the roof with my boy scout field mirror and blind those suckers.

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Being a Target

Agreed.

Anytime in the history of the world, anyone who has ever had the foresight to prepare for an upcoming calamity has become a target.

I agree with GM_Man. Prepare accordingly;-).

I also agree with Thetallestmanonearth. Prepare for the worst, hope for the best, know your neighbors, find ways to help and protect one another. Keep your cards close to your chest.

 

 

 

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skyfall wrote: One of
skyfall wrote:

One of the downsides I see to having an array of solar panels on your roof is that it's a blatant advertisement that you have something that others do not (electricity) in a severe collapse.  I can't help but think that it makes you a bit of a target...

What are your thoughts?

Not really.. In our region there are many home roofs with installed panels..Yes in other cities it turns out to be point of attention..

dblowe7's picture
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It can, but...

You have to remember that most solar array's are grid tied, particularly in the city or in the suburbs.  If things get really bad and power goes out, your solar array power goes with it.  Grid tied arrays have a safety switch installed so that they do not back feed the grid in a power outage.  An off grid array, more likely out in the open country, will not have that safety device and would be more of a target.  Having an off grid array would thus make you more of a "target" as you put it.

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Cuts both ways

 

Having solar panels in a genuine TEOTWAWKI situation could possibly make one the target of those who are in desperate need, but someone who is intent on relieving his plight by victimizing others, also makes himself a target (literally) of those who are determined to protect their own well being. In that situation lead could be considered a precious metal.

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Re cuts both ways

Solar panels, running generator, crowing rooster, etc. might make you interesting to bad people, but it might also be of interest to good people looking to form a mutual defense group.  "I'll help you defend your solar panels in exchange for a share of the power and mutual security and support".  I feel I have a duty to try to inform people of the issues of the day, a lot of people know I'm prepping.  I get the "Gee, if the SHTF I'm coming to YOUR house" line a lot.  I give them a dead cold look and say "You're welcome if you bring 500 lbs. of food per person, guns and ammo are a bonus."  Unfortunately that usually ends the conversation.  A couple of people have said "OK, same deal if you come to mine". It's going to very interesting to see how this all shakes out and who ends up were.

John G.

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earthwise
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You're right....

.....that the noted items might be of interest to good people as well. Unfortunately I've not met very many, especially those interested in mutual defense. Thus, even though I heartily agree with Chris' focus on community, I've concluded that if things really, really get tough, I'm on my own. Not my choice; just the way it is. It would appear, John, that we're in the same boat. Welcome aboard.

MoonShadow's picture
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Skyfall, one way to have a

Skyfall, one way to have a semi-cladestine solar array is to install the panels on the north wall of the house, and use a set of heliostats to direct sunlight to your goal.  Alternatively, the heliostats can be used to directly illuminate or warm the house itself during the daytime.  Since most people would be looking for solar panels on rooftops, and not on the shaded side of a house, such an install would be somewhat less obvious.

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earthwise
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Re-reading

John,

After re-reading your post I think I now understand that you meant to say that after a serious downturn, the solar panels, lights, roosters etc. would attract good guys as well as bad which would provide an opportunity for mutual defense. This is an understanding I previously didn't recognize. My apologies.

I think you may be right; it's something that I'd never considered before. Encouraging prospect; let's hope we never have to find out.

A. M.'s picture
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Real concern

It Isn't being targeted by marauders or some such, but any municipality that is in dire straights won't think twice about 'annexing' your array. Depending on just how much civil infrastructure is left, you might find that you have something that is needed to keep office A/C on in the city building. 

Just think like you're desperate.
A house with panels says that someone has sufficient technology to create some energy.
They probably have other resources, as well. 

Do you have the means to steal from them?
To attack them?
Do you have the time to waste waiting to see their routine and security? 
Are there obvious oversights in their security?

Criminals are *generally* opportunists. This doesn't change much in a collapsed society. If you've made yourself vulnerable, then there's a chance someone will seize the opportunity. If you're alert and pay attention, easier targets will likely be the ones who get the trouble. So, I don't think criminals are your primary concern. 

In general, it may be of benefit to have a smaller array that is:
a. Portable
b. Discreet (Placed at ground level behind a fence, for example)
c. Modular (Can add and subtract panels as necessary)

This way, you don't have to have it on a roof for everyone to see. You can move it to ground level, and if something nefarious happens, you can take panels if/when you need to move. That will help prevent all eggs being lost in the one basket. 

Cheers,

Aaron

 

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Mounting Panels at Ground Level

I think that a ground level mount hidden behind a fence or line of shrubbery is a great idea.  It keeps the panels from standing out when viewed from the street.  Perhaps along a fence?  The fence would also shelter the panels from wind stress.  Or on a pole in the back yard?  Zomeworks makes these.

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MiloDaley wrote: skyfall
MiloDaley wrote:
skyfall wrote:

One of the downsides I see to having an array of peimar solar on your roof is that it's a blatant advertisement that you have something that others do not (electricity) in a severe collapse.  I can't help but think that it makes you a bit of a target...

What are your thoughts?

Not really.. In our region there are many home roofs with installed panels..Yes in other cities it turns out to be point of attention..

Well I still believe these panels are touch expensive and must be used in extreme cases.

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