A Solar-Powered Crime Wave in Napa Valley


Many Napa Valley wineries are going green these days. They focus on organic and biodynamic practices. They build eco-efficient wineries. And they favor solar-powered energy. But lately, that’s become a bit of problem. Turns out they aren’t the only ones keen on solar.

Many Napa Valley wineries are being targeted by thieves. And it’s not the pricey wine they are after. Instead, they are making off with the winery’s solar energy equipment.

Not exactly an easy feat, given that the solar panels, which are large and cumbersome, are usually bolted in place. And it’s not just one or two panels that are being taken. A couple of weeks ago, while wine lovers were gathering for the 2nd annual Solarbration celebration in Yountville, thieves were busy helping themselves to 40 solar panels from the Harris Ranch winery.

Meanwhile, both ZD Wines and Hoing Vineyard and Winery had been hit, not once, but twice. Together, these two wineries have had a total of 283 solar panels stolen.

So far there have been no arrests and no clear indication of why thieves are suddenly targeting these wineries. The only thing that all these wineries have in common, except wine, is that their solar panels were ground mounted and located in the middle of vineyards far from any buildings. Most of the other wineries around the valley have their solar panels located on the top of buildings.

Image: John-Morgan