A couple of days ago I replaced a metal bar that held up a small solar panel. The panel has been sitting on our gate post for around five years, quietly doing its job - charging a battery, and when that is fully charged, operating a gate.

The metal bar had also quietly been doing its job. Holding up the panel, making sure that it captures as much sunlight as it can as the sun traverses the sky.

The difference between the two was that the metal bar had succumbed to the unforgiving Hawai’ian climate. Yes, there is much to love and be grateful for with the weather here in Hawai’i, not least the warmth, but it can come at a price to exposed materials.

Over the course of five years, the salt in the air, even though I live about a mile and a half as the crow flies from the ocean, along with the strong sun, wind and rain, have eaten away at the metal bar. All that remains is a pitted outline of what the bar use to look like.

The remains of a metal bar, which has slowly corroded and been eaten away by the Hawaiian air of salt, wind, sun and rain

As I removed the old bar, it just crumbled in my hand due to rust. What had once been strong and resistant to any attempts to bend it, simply broke off from its base with a quick and easy snap. A small stump is all that is left, holding out against the elements.

I have now replaced it with a purpose built holder, made for solar panels, and I believe treated to withstand what the elements throw at it. Time will tell….