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Posted by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 3/25/2012

Today I got a start on the first of my list of Tanglewood Summer Projects by augering (drilling) the holes for the new solar panel mounts.

The effort Solar LeRoy and I did way back in late summer 2010 was a lot of work, but fortunately I didn't have to dig quite as many holes as we did those late summer weekends! In order to add the 6 new solar panels I need to add some more ground mounts, and after some discussion Solar LeRoy and I agreed that the best way to do this would be to simply extend the lowest tier a bit. Laying out the spacing of the piers already in place, I measured that I needed to add four more to provide adequate support (each panel is just over 39 inches wide), and so I marked these locations a couple of weeks back.

Today I borrowed a small one-man auger and dug the footings for the piers. I was a bit concerned that this wouldn't have enough horsepower given all the trouble Solar LeRoy and I had originally, but as it turned out I didn't have too much trouble. For the most part it appeared I was beyond the "edge" of the slab of sandstone we encountered while drilling many of the original holes and so didn't have all the hassle of dealing with that. Two of the holes were practically pure sand, gravel, and loam--I sent more time with the shovel cleaning them out than anything else. One hole was filled with roots from a pine tree I'd cut down for the original work, while the other had some slabs of sandstone that fortunately was relatively fragile and which gave way easily to some sledge-and-crowbar action.

There are still some small trees I need to take down to finish clearing the area properly, and one of the trees I cut down is close enough to all of this that I'll probably do some work cutting it up at the same time. Still I made good progress, and after I get some additional PVC (one of the placeholder pieces is too short to work) I'll be ready to mix and pour concrete.

Fun fun fun!

Steven in Colorado


A poor attempt to show the depth of one of the holes. Each pier is seated down to two feet.
Decent shot of all four piers. That pine tree leaning way over is coming out, of course.
Looking from the end back towards this particular row. We didn't get a couple of those piers very well aligned; that was mostly due to rocks and such digging the holes.
The trees marked with red will all be coming out. They're not really quite as big as they seem, and their removal will open up solar access to the new panels.

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