Amba are currently working on solar farm security projects across a large number of sites – including various hardware and video analytics upgrades to reduce false alarm rates.
Towards the end of 2019, the UK’s renewable energy sources provided more electricity to homes and businesses than fossil fuels for the first time. 6% was powered by solar energy, generated in hundreds of solar farms around the UK. These farms are usually located in remote, rural areas and contain valuable equipment, which makes them easy targets for trespassing, vandalism and theft.
In August 2019, 168 solar panels were stolen from two solar sites in Wales; local police suspected that the theft was carried out by professionals, who planned to sell the stolen panels on the black market. With a single solar panel costing in the region of £5,500, solar farms are at risk of being hit with very costly losses and repairs following an incident like this.
Often, the people hit hardest by these thefts are agricultural landowners and farmers, who develop solar farms on their land to diversify and supplement their income. The NFU Mutual estimated that in 2018, rural crime cost the UK £49.9 million. While farms need to protect their vehicles, fuel and livestock, they might not have anticipated that solar equipment is also at risk of being stolen.
Reducing theft with 24-hour security solutions
Many solar farms have responded to the risk of vandalism and theft by improving their site security. One effective method regularly implemented on solar farms is remote CCTV monitoring, which allows for round-the-clock protection and a quick response to potential intruders.
However, in such remote, rural locations, sensitive security camera sensors pick up a lot of movement that is not human - local wildlife generates plenty of nuisance alarms for monitoring stations to deal with. Yet it’s sheep who are far and away the biggest trigger of nuisance alarms, as they are needed on site to keep the many acres of grass short.
Video analytics - an intelligent solution
An intelligent video analytics platform can help security firms reduce the volume of nuisance alarms and pinpoint the genuine alarms that need validating. Filtering out the noise of false alarms gives monitoring operators more time to concentrate on genuine security threats, which makes their job easier and improves overall service levels.
A sustainable future?
So are we likely to see more monitoring stations adopt video analytics as part of their solar farm security strategy in the future? As the renewable energy market grows, the demand for site security is likely to follow suit. Shires Crichton, CEO of Amba Defence, explains what this has meant for his business:
“The renewable energy markets are evolving, so the need for a comprehensive solution is incredibly important as we secure critical infrastructure. Amba’s clients use video surveillance for security, asset management, health and safety and livestock monitoring.
“Our 24/7 control room has to handle a vast number of false alarms, so we’re always looking for technology to manage them, including Calipsa’s software and CCTV technology with advanced analytics. Using the latest mobile data solutions allows us to monitor even the most remote solar farm sites cost-effectively.”
Looking for a solution to reduce nuisance alarms on your solar sites? Learn how Amba's integrated approach reduces false alarms, saving you time and money.