up to 45
Sunday, October 30 2005
Today was the first warm, sunny day in more than a week, with temperatures reaching up into the seventies and a cloudless sky, the ideal sort for solar energy collection. I spent most of the day up on the solar deck attaching additional diagonal braces, things recommended by our structural engineer on his only visit (though he hasn't communicated with us since).
The post at the northwest corner of the solar deck does not have any horizontal bracing in the east-west dimension because it is adjacent to the gap that allows someone to climb up from the laboratory deck using a ladder. The structural engineer had suggested some sort of removable brace for this post, so today I made a diagonal one that hinges from the bottom. Eventually I plan to attach a little gate to it as an added safety precaution so as to make it difficult for some fool to accidentally walk out into thin air.
Later I used hinges to attach the solar panel to the solar deck railing (it had lying nearly flat and lashed in place since construction). Then, using two four foot pieces of two by four as struts to support the highest side, I tipped the solar panel up to a 45 degree angle. I would have taken it up to 52 degrees (latitude plus ten degrees), but I didn't have enough slack supply hose. The panel is sixty square feet but is still lightweight enough for one person to lift easily. This is mostly due to the fact that I used thin plastic as its face cover instead of glass, though I find myself wondering if glass would make for a more efficient collector.
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