Solar Panels

How to Stop Portable Solar Panels from Being Stolen

By:Michael Johns

portable solar panel and power station jackery

In this article you will learn how to keep portable solar panels from being stolen. 

There are many reports of portable solar panels being stolen from RVs, campsites, boats, and similar situations. 

As you know, these are expensive pieces of equipment that can be attractive to a thief. Plus solar power generally takes a long time to generate a decent amount of electricity so it’s likely you will often want to leave panels unattended.

This makes it important to secure your portable solar panels to avoid them being stolen. 

Do Portable Solar Panels Get Stolen?

Yes, portable solar panels often get stolen. 

When you layout your panel you will need to find a nice sunny spot. Often this can be out of sight behind an RV, vehicle, or tent. In addition, you will likely want to leave it unattended to produce electricity while you go about your day. 

This presents a perfect opportunity for passing thieves. The fact that it is a portable device makes it even easier for someone to pick up the equipment and walk off with it before you even notice.

If reading any camping or RV forum you will quickly stumble upon threads discussing this subject!

So how do you avoid this problem…

How Do You Prevent Theft of Portable Solar Panels?

Well, the best way to keep a portable solar panel from being stolen is by using a lock. Unfortunately, there are no specific locking systems so you will need to use another solution. 

If you have a frame to your panel you can drill a hole or find a loop/handle to run a cable and lock through. Then you will need a permanent object to secure your solar panel too. Usually, this is a vehicle or metal railing. It is very similar to using a bike lock.

Another sneaky way to deter thieves is to leave a radio or music playing on low in your RV or tent, just enough so passers-by can hear it. It will sound like you are nearby. This can be a brilliant deterrent believe it or not! 

Plus if you have friendly neighbors, ask them to keep an eye out too. All these small actions will be enough to keep opportunist bandits away.

Portable Solar Panel Locks

Here are the best locks for your portable solar panel: 

Hint: Sometimes a long metal cable and padlock will do the job!

You can use a simple cable lock like this Master Lock. It’s a quick and easy way to secure your solar panel. It will stop any passer-by simply picking up your equipment and running off with it. Generally, this should be enough to stop any opportunist thieves without tools. Its braided cable with cut-resistant steel and 12-foot length.

It will do a decent job but is still susceptible to robbers with tools and clippers but these ‘professionals’ are few and far between. Most portable solar panel thefts are carried out by opportunists without tools so any lock will be a deterrent.

There are all sorts of cables and locks (usually designed for bikes) that you can choose from to suit your needs. Here’s shortlist of ideas including U-locks, thick braided cables, and heavy-duty chains with padlocks:

You might also combine your portable solar panel with a solar generator like a Goal Zero or Jackery. Don’t forget to secure these items as well. Of course, they are valuable and easy for light fingers to walk off with when you are not looking. 

jackery solar panels and generator

Portable Solar Panel Locks and Theft Summary

The easiest way to avoid theft is simply to pack away the equipment when you are not using it or leave the area. 

Of course, this is not always practical for taking advantage of peak sun hours. The only thing to do is lock your portable solar panel.

You can buy heavy-duty bikes and cable locks that will do a good job of protecting your portable panels. Or create your own with metal chains and anti-cut padlocks.

Looking for a new one? Read my guide to the Best Portable Solar Panels.