Solar power panels are often deployed in rural areas away from towns or cities, making them an ideal target for thieves. As the market for solar energy in Europe continues to grow, so does the opportunity for theft. To address that, Italy's MARSS (More Advance Research in Security Systems) has launched a new monitoring and alarm system designed specifically for photovoltaic and solar panels that aims to address some of the weaknesses found in more traditional systems.
MARRS, which manufactures CCTV, alarm, fire and access control systems, tried using other means such as perimeter protection to protect solar panel installations, but there were problems, including an unacceptable level of false alarms, according to Daniela D'Amico, marketing manager at MARSS. "As a result, MARRS decided take another approach and build a system dedicated to the protection of solar and photovoltaic panels specifically," she said.
The result is Solar Defender, which the company describes as "the first and only" systems of its kind. Designed for easy installation, the system is based on a network of optical sensors that are attached to individual solar panels that are able to memorize the features of each panel and detect and transmit an alarm related to either the single panel or the installation as a whole.
The system supports IP technology, D'Amico said, and allows for centralized monitoring of one or more solar energy plants while also being easily expandable if the number of solar panels increases. Solar Defender can also be interfaced with other more traditional security system elements as well as any kind of alarm communications system. So confident is MARRS in its new product that there's a "no false alarms" guarantee.
Aside from the security aspect, Solar Defender is also useful as a business intelligence tool. The system is capable of monitoring energy collection, temperature and technical problems that may occur in the panels or the network.