Solar generator

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Solar generator

Solar generator

Produces electricity from sunlight. Does not work in the dark or under artificial light.

Base Stats

Type
BuildingPower
Market Value
295 Silver [Note]
HP
300
Flammability
70%
Path Cost
50

Building

Size
4 ˣ 4
Minifiable
False
Placeable
True
Passability
pass through only
Cover Effectiveness
50%
Terrain Affordance
Medium
Power
1700 W

Creation

Required Research
Solar panel
Skill Required
Construction 6
Work To Make
2,500 ticks (41.67 secs)
Resources to make
Steel 100 + Component 3
Deconstruct yield
Steel 50 + Component 1 - 2
Destroy yield
Steel 25 + Component 0 - 1

A solar generator provides up to 1700W of power from sunlight. It has much smaller space requirements than a wind turbine but provides no power at night or during an eclipse. It can be placed in a wind turbine's exclusion zone with no effect on the turbine. Solar generators may be protected by surrounding them with walls, but they must stay unroofed to operate.

Acquisition

Solar generators can be constructed once the Solar panel research project has been completed. They require Steel 100 Steel, Component 3 Component, 2,500 ticks (41.67 secs) of work, and a Construction skill of 6.

Summary

Power output is a direct product of the daytime light level. For example, at 50% daylight, a solar generator produces 850W of its 1700W maximum. An eclipse blocks the sun, but weather conditions like rain, fog, or snow will not reduce any power. A roof reduces power output. However, there's no "overshadow" from mountains, despite any graphics of long shadows seen in the game.

Solar generators only operate by the world light level; light from ordinary sources such as a standing lamp or sun lamp will not cause them to generate power. The latitude of your starting position will affect solar cycles, with equator zones giving the strong consistent output and the north pole struggling to reach peak output.

Lightning striking causes it to generate a small amount of power.

Analysis

Solar generators are "free" energy; once built, they do not need fueling, they simply give and keep giving... while they have sunshine. They do not give their maximum power from start to finish; as daylight grows, the power they provide slowly grows to their full capacity, and then tapers off again back to zero as dusk and night approach.

The exact amount of sun depends on your latitude and season. In a single day near the equator, there are roughly:

  • 9 hours of full sunlight - from 0800 to 1700
  • 8 hours of no sunlight - from 2000 to 0400.
  • 7 hours of reduced sunlight - from 0400 to 0800, and 1700 to 2000.

Batteries are the easiest way to make power consistent, allowing power use at night, so long as an eclipse doesn't happen. Alternatively, you can accept that not all items need to be powered 24/7. Most production benches are only used when colonists are awake, and some buildings like smelters and crematoriums don't even need to be used daily. The most pertinent case is with sun lamps, which shuts down as night begins. Two solar generators will roughly power a sun lamp; but as they aren't always at full output, batteries remain helpful.

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