So the pool noodle compressed instantly & the solar panel fell back down. The next attempt was a giant toilet roller.
Made from the cheapest spring currently made. The lion kingdom wondered who bought plastic toilet rollers for any use other than recycling the spring or who mail ordered a plastic roller from 3 miles away & waited 10 days.
Some rubber from sandals was epoxied on.
A previous attempt had joints, but these proved to be 2 extra pieces requiring alignment rather than any improvement.
Unfortunately, the spring had the right tension at only 1 point. There was much shimming of the spring length to make it stand up at 1 point, but the spring never reached an ideal tension. It was seen as the easiest to install because it would only require 1 paw. In reality, it takes 2 paws to fight the resistance of the spring while positioning the ends. Because of the variety of alignments required to stand the solar panel up, a better system would use a ratchet.
Another idea is to make the solar panel fold like a book. It probably needs a bigger area to apply force.