July 2, 2010: WMRC staff re-install 33 solar panels and revive battery-inverter system: hope for a full recovery. Once the road opened WMRC staff began a top-priority scramble to recover the solar electrical system (see May 28 story for details). The fallen solar panels were straightenend and cleaned, and tested for generating capacity. Remarkably, the 60 panels retained 60-100% of their power (mostly 100%), enough to justify their re-installation. The new mounting system glues the panels directly to the roof. The dead batteries were also revived by a multi-step process which has resulted in at least a partial recovery. On June 30, the generator was shut off after running continuously for 6 days, and the station returned to partial solar/battery power. We plan to remount the remaining solar panels next week and to complete the re-installation over the next few weeks. We are hoping for a full system recovery but this can only be determined by actual performance.
Trek to Barcroft, May 28, 2010: Winter storm sweeps away Barcoft solar panels. The heavy snows and delayed spring snowmelt in 2010 prevented WMRC staff from reaching Barcroft in winter/spring 2010. We knew via remote monitoring that the main power sytem had shut down, but we didn't know why. Getting up to Crooked Creek has been delayed by large snow drifts, and once the way was open the snow was too soft for easy passage. Finally, on May 28, WMRC Associate Director John Smiley was able to drive the snow cat to the base of Sheep Pass; close enough to enable a 6-mile hike up to the station. See full story for what he found, with details and photos.