Solar panel theft leaves farmer $10,000 out of pocket
LOSING nearly $10,000 in solar panels has taken the shine off Wyreema lettuce farmer Paul Finlayson's plans to cash in on the sun's rays.
Mr Finlayson is trying to combat the bold thief who took 20 panels in two separate raids on his Toowoomba-Karara Rd property.
He said 12 panels were stolen overnight on Tuesday last week with the thief returning last Thursday night to take a further eight.
The steel frame to which they were bolted was all that remained.
Mr Finlayson guessed each raid could have taken a few hours.
"I haven't seen any torches or anything," Mr Finlayson said.
"They have unbolted them all."
Another 20 panels yesterday remained bolted to a similar frame right beside the bare structure.
They are part of a $200,000 system that has been installed across Mr Finlayson and his parents' farm in the past 18 months.
"We are basically trying to make money out of it."
The stolen panels, which were not insured, were installed only three months ago.
Mr Finlayson said securing the State Government's 44c feed in tariff meant he was able to pay his household electricity bill and still gain a return.
He feared more raids on his property and other people who had outlaid large amounts of money on solar panels.
"It has been doing my head in to be honest.
"They are expensive and easy to get (steal)."
The 31-year-old said it was the first time he knew of something being stolen from the property on which he had grown up.
Police are investigating.