Real Sun Worshippers: Solar Deities Through History

For as long as humans have existed on this Earth, their various civilisations have developed religious beliefs surrounding the importance of the Sun. As time has passed, some of these early ideas have developed and established themselves into cultures of todays.

A number of religions and ethnic groups not only see significant in the sun itself but worship their own solar deities, or gods and goddess, who represent the Sun, or one of its features for example it’s strength, warmth and power.

Our infographic below looks at a variety of different solar deities, from the ancient Greek Sun God Helios who rode through the skies in his horse-led chariot to Aztec Huitzilopochtli, a fearsome blue warrior who wore hummingbird feathers on his head. How many of these sun gods and goddess have you heard of before?

Sun-Worshippers

The Fastest Things in the World

Our latest infographic looks at some of the fastest things in the world – from outrageously fast cars, including the Bugatti Veyron SuperSport and the unofficial record holder the Hennessey Venom GT. As well as the rapid descent down the Insano waterslide in Brazil where you’ll travel forty one metres in less than five seconds, and the superfast JR Maglev train which races through the Japanese countryside at a grand speed of 373km per hour – faster even that the aptly named Shinkansen ‘bullet train’.

Whilst not everything on our list hits mind-boggling speeds, some are included as they are the fastest in their field, for example the Soviet submarine K-222 and of course the Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, who is regarded as the fastest person ever timed.

At approximately 670 million mph, it is light (primarily from the Sun) that is undoubtedly the fastest thing in the world. Responsible for the human eye’s sense of sight, it allows us to fully enjoy the world around us – whether we are experiencing life at super speeds or not. Take a look at the infographic below to discover just how many times you could circumnavigate the globe in a second if you could travel at the speed of light!fastest-things-in-the-world

Ceremonial Use of Lights Around the World

From candles, to oil lamps, lanterns and even fire, light is widely used in all sorts of ceremonies and rituals around the world. Light carries several symbolic meanings for a number of religions and represents joy, hope and life-giving power. Whilst the use of light is common to each of the ceremonies regardless of their geographical location or differing religions, the ceremonies origins themselves and their respective symbolic meanings greatly differ.

Our latest infographic looks at variety of ceremonies – from Lampadedromia the ancient Greek ceremony to honour the Gods which has now been transformed and incorporated into the Olympic Torch Race, to the well-known Hindu Diwali and slightly closer to home, the popularly celebrated Guy Fawkes Night in the UK.

Have you experience any of these beautiful ceremonies? Or, if you haven’t seen any, which would be at the top of your bucket-list?

Ceremonial-Lights-Around-World

Eureka: Incredible Solar Powered Inventions

Solar power is an important source of renewable energy that can be used to fuel a multitude of items, including our lights.  Over recent years solar power has become an increasingly popular source of energy and has been at the forefront of some rather interesting inventions. Nowadays, scientists and manufacturers are beginning to harness the sun’s energy and using it to power all sorts of wonderful creations, including wheelchairs, cars and hearing aids.

Have you ever been out when your phone has died and you desperately need to charge it? Well there’s now a solar plug socket so that you can charge your phone wherever you are, without the need for electricity. After all, solar energy is the power of the future, and so it’s about time that our normal day-to-day electricity powered items started to use cleaner solar energy. Our new infographic explores the most incredible inventions that run on solar energy, including homeless shelters and ferries; take a look below!

Solar-Powered-Inventions

Where to Find Sun All Year Round

At this time of year many of us find ourselves day dreaming about sunnier weather. Right about now it feels like it’s been winter forever and that there’s no end in sight. But while the U.K. might be in the midst of a cold snap, there are plenty of places around the world where the sun is beaming and the temperatures are well into double figures!

Our latest infographic explores the sunniest destinations around the world, all of which have upward of six hours of sunshine a day on average. Whether you’re looking for a bit of sunshine in Europe or further away, it’s possible to get on a plane and find destinations that experience sunshine practically all year round.  From Malta which sees 300 days of good weather a year and over 2095 hours of sunshine in 2015, to Florida which averages 260 full days of sunshine a year, there’s a location for everyone. Which of the destinations below would you like to visit for all year round sunshine?

Where-to-Find-Sun-all-year-round-final

The World’s Most Dazzling Christmas Lights

It’s coming to that time of the year again… Christmas! Yes, the decorations are coming out, the children are writing their letters to Father Christmas, and the turkeys are being ordered. There are so many iconic parts to Christmas, but one of the most important has to be the Christmas lights. Whether they’re decorating trees in homes, or houses themselves, they always seem to add that final touch to the Christmassy feel.

All over the world, people flock to big cities in order to see the famous Christmas lights that are on display in their country. Not only are they always spectacular to see, but it’s a special way of gathering people together to get them into the Christmas spirit. Our latest infographic showcases how different countries decorate their famous cities, highlighting how each country has their own unique way of presenting their Christmas lights.

How many have you seen? Or, if you haven’t seen any, which would be your favourite one to go and visit? Oh, and Happy Christmas from us here at The Solar Centre!

the-worlds-most-dazzling-christmas-lights

Spring is Nearly Here!

 

 

Tired of the doldrums of winter? Fed up of soggy days and snow? Garden looks worse for wear? Spring is nearly here and now’s your chance to take on that project you’ve always wanted to do. Rejuvenate your garden with some decorative lights, make a garden cinema, plant a vegetable patch … the world’s your oyster! Here are some great ideas we’ve seen and that we wanted to share with you:

 

Do it Yourself  (DIY) Garden Cinema:

This can be a cheap venture. The only part that might cost a little more is the projector and sound system. Simply hang a white bed-sheet across the garden and aim the projector at it. For a cosy cinema find some pillows, lazy chairs, pop some corn, and relax.

If you want something a little more special just add some decorations like fairy lights, tea lights, pretty bunting, and a couple of tables. A lot of people use pallets to make garden furniture and should keep the price down.

This Spring Plant a Vegetable Patch:

There’s nothing more rewarding than fresh peas straight out of the pod, or tomatoes from the vine, or a luxurious strawberry. This is even better if you’ve a household with children to teach them about growing food and how to. It doesn’t have to be expensive either and in the long run will save you money on vegetables.

Don’t worry if you haven’t got a lot of space either. We’ve seen stuff grown in all sorts of places: gutter-pipe along a fence, in a post, from window-boxes, etc. The list is endless. Get creative and see what you can do. (While you’re at it, consider making a compost heap. It doesn’t need to be massive and you could put your kitchen scraps in there!)

 

Toast Yourself with a New Fire-Pit:

Fire-pits are all the rage for 2014 (you just need to look at Pinterest to know it!) There’s a load of instructions on how to build your own and not spend a fortune. You could even pop down to your local tip or builders’ yard and find some really unique brick-work to build the surround. (This also helps if you have a lot of leaf litter or vegetable patch waste to burn). Add some benches, cushions, drinks cooler, and maybe a little smores bar (toasted marshmallows, biscuit, and dark chocolate) for entertaining purposes.

Don’t forget health and safety though. Add some buckets of sand to quickly extinguish any fire that has gotten out of hand and always check to make sure your neighbour hasn’t hung fresh washing as it’ll end up smelling otherwise.

 

Get arty with your Garden Path:

Make your garden path more than just a walk-way to get to other places. Make it a piece of art! Mosaics or unusual garden paths can be easy to make. With a little time and effort you could have something truly outstanding. We’ve seen a lot of things done with garden paths and also the borders along garden paths. You could create something that looks like a stream with smooth stones, or a patterned mosaic, or get the children involved in making stepping stones using old broken pottery or china with delicate patterns on. The choices are endless.

If you do decide to rejuvenate your pathways you should also consider some lighting to show off your new found skills as an artist. The Solar Centre has a lot of different Solar Powered Pathlights that can be installed in minutes and will keep on going!

 

Good luck and enjoy your garden this Spring!

 

 

How Is The UK Re-Charging?


DECC LogoThe DUKES 2013 Report

Last month the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) released their Statistical Press Release: The Digest of UK Energy Statistics (aka DUKES) taken from 2012. It has a lot of graphs and numbers but what exactly does it mean?

I’m here to provide a closer look and point out some of the interesting trends.

Offshore RenewablesRenewable Energy on The Up!

This graph shows the gradual increase of renewable energy produced by the UK from 2004 to 2012. The UK only became interested in renewable energy in the mid-1990’s. The news is good! Each year has shown an increase and each year it has been above the target set by the government.

UK Energy Produced by Renewables
The percentage of UK Energy Produced by Renewables

But It’s Not All Good News …

However, the target set for the government is low compared to other countries. Each time we’ve surpassed that target it has only been by 0.1%, which is hardly breaking any records. Germany, for instance, has just broken its monthly solar power generation record (again). In July 2013 they logged 5.1 terawatt’s hours of electricity. (To put that in to perspective we only got 1114.2 gigawatts from renewable sources!)

Installed Capacity of PV Per Country
The total capacity of Photovoltaic panels per country.

Quote From Clean Technica:

“In terms of total solar power capacity per capita, Germany crushes every other country. At the end of 2012, it had approximately 400 MW of solar power capacity per million people, considerably more than #2 Italy at 267 MW per million people, #3 Belgium at 254 MW per million people, and #4 Czech Republic at 204 MW per million, and #5 Greece at 143 MW per million people. The US came it at #20 with about 25 MW per million people.”

Notice how we don’t even feature on that list? I know we’re a small country but we could be doing more. It’s certainly spiked upwards but it’s hardly the runner-up to winning the medal, let alone the gold seeker!

The Good News

There is good news in this muddle of information. Offshore wind generation (which is the UK’s second largest renewable source currently after biomass) has increased by 46% in 2012 and had a greater load factor than gas. (33.7% from wind compared to 30.4% from gas.)

UK Electricity Generation by Fuel
UK Electricity Generation by Fuel

The Final Word And Going Forwards

Slowly things are changing. It’s not just about turning off the television or light bulb any more. It’s about moving forwards and growing with the changes happening around us. Perhaps the UK government should review their plan and set more aggressive targets for renewable energy so we can try to catch up on the swift progress being made elsewhere in Europe.

Sources:

Germany Breaks Monthly Solar Generation Record, 6.5 Times More than US best, from Clean Technica

The Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) Digest of UK Energy Statistics (DUKES) 2013 – Press Release