Father Christmas' Journey in Numbers

Fun Campaign Looks at Alternate Ways Father Christmas Can Deliver His Presents to Children Across the Country

As the holiday season approaches, many children are eagerly anticipating Santa Claus’s annual journey. However, few realise the immense energy required to power Santa’s sleigh and deliver presents to every household.

The team at the country’s largest installer of solar panels, Project Solar UK, spend much of their time on the roofs of houses and have been having a bit of fun trying to work out how Santa will travel from rooftop to rooftop across the region.

They have worked out that he needs to deliver presents to 800,000,000 children and as they work in the clean energy sector, they wanted to think up ways he could do this more sustainably.


The question behind the campaign created by Project Solar’s research and data team was “What if Santa needed to lower his carbon footprint?” and they crunched the numbers to establish how much energy he would need to travel across the globe delivering presents on Christmas Eve.

According to their calculations, Santa needs to travel 99,419,360 miles to get around the world and visit the 800,000,000 children on the planet. With him now driving an environmentally friendly electric, energy efficient sleigh (using the same amount of energy as an electric Vauxhall Corsa) that manages 5 miles per kWh, they have worked out he needs a huge 19,883,872 kWh to achieve his goal.

Believing that he would want to reduce his emissions – by generating his own electricity using solar power – they worked out a calculation based on the sunlight available in Lapland which would generate the energy to propel Santa across the sky. For Santa to power his Christmas journey entirely using solar energy, he’d need to install 6,555 4kW solar panel systems around his workshop. That’s not bad for a 99,419,360-mile journey.

To help put this into context for people who don’t work with renewables every day, the data scientists at Project Solar UK worked out how much electricity is needed to run a football game in certain well-known stadiums, based on how many people they can seat.

Using this information, they calculated the total energy required for a year. Then, they figured out how many years Santa’s electric sleigh could power the stadium using the same amount of energy he uses to fly and deliver presents on Christmas night.

They established for example that the home of Aston Villa requires 17,500kWh of energy to power the stadium for a game – the equivalent of  332,500kWh per year. When they did the number crunching, the solar power that’s been generated at Santa’s workshop at the North Pole, ready to take him on his Christmas journey, could run the Aston Villa Stadium for almost 60 years.  They also took a look at Manchester United’s Old Trafford stadium that requires 28,000KWh of energy to power up the various systems  during each match and established that Santa could run it for 37 years.

“Our data teams and installers have got their heads together and had some fun in working out how solar power could help Santa this Christmas.  By moving away from fossil fuels to power his transport and onto solar energy, Santa could become more environmentally friendly and make his Christmas deliveries around the globe in a more sustainable way,” said Simon Peat CEO of Project Solar UK. “Solar energy is a clean, renewable resource that can help protect the environment for children today and for future generations.”

The fun Santa journey computations by the data team at Project Solar UK are part of a campaign to raise awareness of energy consumption, and the role of solar panels and to help families understand more about using the sun’s natural resource to reduce environmental