Spring Equinox 2021

John Williams

20 Mar 2021

Photo credit: Annie Spratt on Unsplash

While the Spring equinox occurs the world over at the same moment, the date and local time differ from location to location depending on particular time zones.

This year, here in the UK it is Saturday, March 20, @ 09.37 GMT.

In 2020 the Covid-19 pandemic meant most people spent much of the year confined indoors; consequently seasonal patterns were largely forgotten. With Vaccines providing a route out of lockdown and normality on the horizon, the mood is more hopeful. Thus the arrival of spring is even more exciting than usual.

Astronomical Cycle

Solstices and equinoxes are key stages in the Earth’s astronomical cycle. An equinox isn’t a day-long event; it’s the moment in time when the Sun’s position is directly above the equator and day and night are practically equal in length.

Spring Cleaning

As the cost reduction curve continues at a much faster pace than for any other technology, there has been a groundswell of solar panel installations. I can hear all those owners asking themselves

‘should I be spring cleaning my solar panels?’

If you live in a residential area, this isn’t necessary as good rainfall is usually enough to keep the dust at bay and your system running close to its full efficiency. Fine layers of dust covering your solar panels will cause a minimal loss to your system’s overall output as light can still filter through to the solar cells.

However soiling from bird droppings or leaves can cause a noticeable reduction in your system’s production. Likewise if you have installed flats panels or panels with little pitch. Because water pools on the surface then evaporates and leaves a residue of grime that doesn’t naturally wash away.

With the average increase in output from cleaning panels usually small, once you take into account the time and risk of injury if you do it yourself or how much you will need to pay to have it done, most of the time solar panel cleaning isn’t worth it.

Commercial or industrial PV installations is another matter. A Kipp & Zonen white paper “Solar Panel Soiling” explores soiling issues from economic, geographic, and technical perspectives.

Folk Lore

In the Northern Hemisphere, the March equinox has long been celebrated as a time of rebirth. Spring-time festivals and holidays such as Easter and Passover are the main celebrations across many cultures.

In the UK, Stonehenge is the most famous meeting point for druids and pagans, who gather annually to watch the dawn break.

Many children believe that the Easter Bunny lays and hides baskets of coloured eggs or chocolate in their homes or around the garden the night before Easter Sunday. This gave rise to the Easter egg hunt, a tradition still popular among children today.