Thank you all for your comments.
I searched Google to find some concrete examples and found: 39 panels stolen from Honig Wineries in the Napa Valley, ZD wines have been hit twice, losing a total of 244 panels, Harris Ranch – 40 panels (http://bit.ly/b49pU5), 108 panels were stolen from Oceana High School in SF (http://bit.ly/bdHsUg) last April. Many other panels were stolen in North and South America, Europe, Africa and Australia, and we're talking $1,000 apiece.
SolarEdge is leading a new approach of combating this rising problem with panel-embedded electronics. These electronic chips are indeed necessary to provide the theft deterrence solution, but this is just one of their benefits. The power optimizers perform MPPT per panel, thus dramatically reducing power losses of the PV system, they allow panel-level monitoring for enhanced maintenance and increased uptime, and they provide safety features that protect installers, system owners and firefighters.
SolarEdge power optimizers can work both with a SolarEdge inverter and with a non-SolarEdge centralized inverter.
I'm positive that in time, theft prevention and theft deterrence solutions will become more sophisticated, but panel-embedded electronics seem to be a key component of any future solution.