Sunday, 15 December 2013

Winter Solstice and Solar.

Despite the commercialism of Christmas it's hard not to like this time of the year. 
What's not to like? Food and drink, presents, reunions with friends and families plus the prospect of a new year with (hopefully) better times ahead.

Early Christians realised the symbolism of the light returning to the world and decided that late December would be a useful time to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

For those of us with solar panels on our houses, December is always disappointing. It's the darkest of months and one of the coldest and just when you need the maximum output from your system the power is barely trickling down from your roof.

Here in Leicester the winter solstice takes place on December 21st at 17:11. 

It's the shortest day, the sun rises at 08:14 and sets at 15:32. That's 7 hours and 37 minutes of grey, cloudy and watery sunlight. Who wouldn't want to get together with friends to celebrate the fact that strange as it seems, summer starts here...

Mankind has recognised the "Yule" season for millenniums. They would collect a Yule log and burn it to celebrate the heat, light and life giving properties of the returning sun. The ashes were then scattered on the fields to ensure fertility. 

As our forefathers managed for generations in conditions that you and I would have keeled over and died in, I can only assume that Yule log burning works.  I just wish I'd saved the boxes that the PV panels came in as I'd burn one each year to ensure maximum output in the coming year.

Happy Christmas, Yule and Solstice to all of us. May we be blessed with long light days in 2014.

Twitter: (@solaricarus)


  1. This is the month to get those solar-powered external tree lights. Got some from Wilkinson's and they are doing a treat. On dull days it's just faint lights in the tree but most times it's cool that the solar panel fixed to the trunk can store the energy from the daytime. Have a great break!

    1. I generated 10 kWh IN TOTAL last week...I suspect if the wise men from the east were trying to find my house guided by the glow from my "Wilko" solar lights there's going to be a shortage of gold, frankincense and myrrh in our household...

      We love Wilkinsons, they're great value. I keep a detailed record of our yearly expenditure and I can tell you that we're very consistent in our purchasing at the local store.

      2011-12 = 2.68% of total expenditure.
      2012-13 = 2.70% of total expenditure.
      2013-14 = 2.58% of total expenditure (todate).

      Is this level of record keeping a little anal?