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Posted by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 4/24/2012

Wow... been an interesting couple of weeks since I outlined my summertime project list.

Essentially the day after I made that post a couple of things happened in that pesky Real World (tm) that slowed progress down considerably:

  • My mother had to go in for brain surgery, of all things. She's fine and recovering nicely now, but that in itself took a big couple of weeks out of the schedule with visiting her during recovery, running around to various doctor's appointments, and what all else.

  • We had a final (I hope!) blast of winter weather, dumping a good 4" of snow all over everything and which basically made work outside nigh-impossible. It was good because we needed the water, but there went close to a week right there!

  • My new solar panels arrived arrived (yay!), but as we were hauling them down to stash in the shed to await deployment, Solar LeRoy took some measurements of the piers I'd augered and noted that he thought the four piers wouldn't be sufficient. Turned out that he was absolutely right--when we laid out the additional supporting struts the ones on the far end stuck out a good 10 feet without support, which would probably work, but which is really just too much panel without solid support under them. So I ended up having to auger in two more holes, which meant borrowing the auger again and finding an afternoon to spend some quality time making more holes. I got them done (Colleen and I had already cut sufficient pipe) but that was another delay. It needed doing, mind you, and at least the panels will have solid support all the way across now.

So here we are with today. The supports are in the newly augered holes and will be cut down to their proper height this coming weekend. I've been slowly collecting concrete (three bags at a time is about all I can haul in my Fit due to the rough road) and when I have a critical mass, I'll mix and pour to set the piers into place. THEN I can finally bolt on the strut extensions and Solar LeRoy can come up to work his wiring magic.

I'm really looking forward to fleshing out my panels and the Outback controller they're on. The new PV will up my solar capacity to around ~45 kWh/day assuming things are bright and sunny, which is of course a fantastic resource to have.

Come to think of it I did get one other thing done, that being to finalize the design of the new solar shed. The dimensions changed slightly to accommodate the area I've got to work with, and I've staked out the rough outline to make sure all is going to work as I think it will. So far it looks good... but I'm not really going to count that as progress per se on Summer Project 2... that just doesn't seem right.

Remember: Always allow for "slop" in your plans due to Real World Events!


Steven in Colorado

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