Six panels stolen from solar garden

Three separate thefts from site west of Nelson

Six panels were taken from the Nelson Community Solar Garden earlier this month. Photo: Luke Mori

Six solar panels were stolen from Nelson’s Community Solar Garden during three separate thefts earlier this month.

“Two panels were taken each time,” said Carmen Proctor, Nelson Hydro’s Ecosave Energy Retrofit Manager, adding the thefts occurred on May 2, May 3 and May 6.

Proctor said a camera and security system was not complete at the time of the thefts, but said the security system has since been activated.

“It’s not easy to do this,” she said, adding the garden, although unfenced, is “on a bank by the cliffs” overlooking the Kootenay River.

The solar garden, which became Canada’s first community solar garden when it opened in June 2017, is located about 18 km west of Nelson, at Bonnington, above the Nelson Hydro Power Plant.

Proctor said, “We don’t know the motivation for this.”

She said the total estimated loss from the thefts, including the micro-inverters required for each panel, is about $2,000 “not including installation.”“

Since the site is on city-owned property the thefts are being investigated by Nelson Police Department.

“We are asking anyone who has seen any suspicious activity in the area of the solar garden to contact the Nelson police,” said Proctor.

There are a total of 248 panels in the garden.

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