FAQ & Feedback: Solar Energy

Discussion in 'FAQ & Feedback' started by Hummel-o-War, Dec 14, 2017.

  1. Hummel-o-War

    Hummel-o-War Administrator
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    Note: Solar Panels & Capacitor (Solar) are currently only usable for bases (Space and planet)

    How Solar Energy works:
    - The algorithm calculates the amount of sun-rays that will hit the solar panel for a certain placement during the day. The placement affects their efficiency (see factors listed below)
    - This average efficiency is then displayed with the GREEN LCDs (up to four LED lights)
    - The current efficiency is displayed by the YELLOW LED lights (up to four LED lights)
    - If solar panels produce more electricity than currently needed, the surplus energy is stored in the Capacitor (Solar) block like in a battery.
    - To display the surplus of energy (or the “energy reserve”), there is now a battery icon in the main page of Control Panel that shows the current content of the battery.
    - Note: conventional generators (fuel driven) do not store excess power in the battery!

    Factors that will increase or reduce the efficiency on a PLANET:
    - Placement behind an obstacle (tree, stone, base, mountain etc) leads to a reduced efficiency
    - Stronger Light Intensity on the playfield increases efficiency on a global scale (parameter: DayLightIntensity in playfield.yaml).
    - Light Intensities overall impact on the efficiency is influenced by the weather condition in a second step: eg when it is cloudy or raining, light intensity effect decreases and thus also efficiency of panel
    - Angle of panel towards sun: best efficiency when sun hits perpendicular on panel (eg on equator a flat solar panel lying on ground will have highest efficiency at noon, while a sloped solar panel close to pole while be better)
    - AtmosphereDensity: higher density = less overall efficiency
    - AtmosphereDensity is modified by latitude! Example: If the position of the Solar Panel is closer to the poles, it is less efficient for the same AtmosphereDenisty factor, because sun travels through more atmosphere than on equator.
    - Ground fog reduces efficiency

    Factors that will increase or reduce the efficiency in SPACE:
    - Angle of panel towards sun: best efficiency when sun hits perpendicular on panel
    - Distance of sun: the further the orbit playfield is away from sun, the lower the efficiency (eg lower efficiency in Ningues orbit than Aestus orbit)
     
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  2. JuStX2

    JuStX2 Captain

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    Personally I'm leaning towards the solar generators were perfect at the end of experimental - just weak enough to be realistic on Akua. Technically Akua isn't exactly Ideal Conditions for Solar Output anyway - and it makes alot more sense to deploy them realistically in space - just my 2 cents. Anyway - I was always with the camp that believed Solar wasn't designed to be a primary energy source for very long - it was more meant for supplemental and beginner energy.
     
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  3. JuStX2

    JuStX2 Captain

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    Also I realize it's a bit off topic but I would like to here definitive evidence whether Eleon plans to introduce Solar (in the future) on platforms other than bases.
     
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  4. Schadwe

    Schadwe Ensign

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    Just one thing so far for Solar panels, You should make it so the energy from the panels are used first BEFORE any the power from any connected generators are used. In this way, we can use generators as automatic backups or just use generators for offset the power consumption spikes when needed. Right now, if I have a generator connected to the same grid as the solar panels, the power from the generators are still used first.
     
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  5. JuStX2

    JuStX2 Captain

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    After extensive testing on Test Branch I can confirm this is ALREADY the way it works - unless they changed it during deployment.
     
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  6. JuStX2

    JuStX2 Captain

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    To Be clear I tested a base with Solar and Generators - Even after leaving both fuelled at top - after 1 in-game day passes the fuel in the tank was still at max.
     
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  7. Schadwe

    Schadwe Ensign

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    I'm not seeing that. I have 6 panels and a capacitor along with my generators and during the daylight hours (full sunny day starter planet) I see my fuel tanks deplete and the capacitor charge up. This is not a new game.
     
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  8. Slavens

    Slavens Lieutenant

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    Solar panels for ships. PLEASE.

    I get that many players approach ship building from a military perspective. It's sexy. It's practical. It's bloody FUN!

    BUT

    If you want a real challenge, building from an civilian/scientific exploration standpoint is amazing. Building ship light on armor and weapons is a serious challenge, especially if you build from the 'fragile' standpoint that an interplanetary vessel cannot make planetfall.

    I'd like to build 'classic' ships envisioned before the actual advent of space travel or in it's very early days. Think Jules Verne or early Asimov, Heinlein, or Arthur C. Clarke.

    To this end, CV solar panels would be very helpful. I know they're not a 'true' light sail, but they're as close as I think we can get in E:GS

    There are a number of other things I'd like to see eventually:
    • retractable landing gear
    • some way to make cylinders or spheres of varying sizes (think the Discovery from 2001: A Space Odyssey and 'wheel and spoke' space stations)
    • motion systems (having a rotating habitat on a CV or space station, thrust vectoring)
    • true 'variable-size' doors, ramps, and other things that come in various sizes. e.g.: Pick opposite corners of a hangar door, whatever the dimensions are, and the system uses enough 'blocks' to create a custom sized hangar door.
    • IRIS doors! you know, the ones with the sliding petals that open like a camera shutter?
    • CABLES! Pick two endpoints and you get a cable strung between them. Think anchor cables for a light sail mast.
    • more diagonal stuff. Right now we can create rectangular 45 degree shapes using ramp blocks. how about some large and small cylinder shapes that can run at 45 degrees? Maybe stuff that runs from opposite corners from a cube? This would open up a lot of creative freedom.
    • Actual working docking system
    • configurable blinking lights for ship marker lights and landing pads
    Where is an appropriate place for such suggestions?

    Thanks!
    Les


    Oh. And for the love of all that is space, can we PLEASE move past the 'Star Wars' single-biome planets? You've got a decent start on this with the biome changing by altitude. When we get to bigger planets without the polar force fields can we look at changing the biome based on latitude as well?
     
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    Last edited: Dec 17, 2017
  9. The Caveman

    The Caveman Ensign

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    Solar panels are completely useless in their current implementation.

    I set up a test structure with no generator and 16 solar panels on akua pulling a 504kw load and it ALWAYS drains to zero even during daylight hours.

    If 16 panels can't even run 9 grow lights, a group of small O2 tanks and one ventilator then what's the point of even putting them on a structure?

    Why is it limited to one battery as well? One fuel tank and one O2 tank only for the next trick perhaps? Granted at this moment the question is completely irrelevant since the one battery can't be charged enough to even be usable, but assuming at some point hopefully it will, why can I not add extra power storage if I could get sufficient production from the panels? In the real world you CAN run 24/7 on solar alone if you have a large enough battery bank and sufficient number of panels, assuming the sun is still working of course, so why not here?
     
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  10. zztong

    zztong Captain

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    I read through the experimental branch discussion (now closed) and here's a list of suggestions from there:
    • Solar for CVs, SVs, HVs.
    • Add Armored Panels at 10% less efficiency or allow placement of panels behind armored glass and then decrease panel efficiency by 10%.
    • Damage to panels reduces power generation proportionally down to 50% damage, after which the panel produces no power.
    • Panels under opaque blocks (like concrete) should produce no power. This was considered a BUG, but I'm not sure it got reported as such, or if it has been resolved.
    • Add a Shutter Door with the dimensions of 3x5 to match that of a horizonal panel.
    • Eliminate the max number of solar panels restriction.
    • Allow the expansion the capacity of the battery/capacitor by placing more batteries.
     
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  11. zztong

    zztong Captain

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    9 Grow Lights draws 45 kW and the Ventilator draws 50 kW. Your Core draws 5 kW. I don't think O2 tanks draw anything. That's 100 kW. What else is in your base?

    Here's my (recently updated) Detached Greenhouse Base...

    http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=676550745

    ... It appears to keep 36 growing plots powered off of 4 solar panels. It's total power draw is around 60 kW. Its not a complete base. Its designed to be a stand-alone structure.
     
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  12. The Caveman

    The Caveman Ensign

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    Small O2 tanks draw 5kw each.

    The structure is intended to be used as a stand alone public access farm for whoever happens by so the running theme of design is minimal hands on as much as possible. Even with the original design and fuel tanks that only draw 1kw each it was still draining fuel continuously. That's why I yanked the generator and fuel tanks for testing.

    The solar panels occupy as much space as the entire structure does. I would kinda expect a bit more performance out of them.

    EDIT: I just spawned yours in. It spawned with 100% charge on the battery. I took out the generator and two fuel tanks and it's depleting with clear sky and the sun directly overhead. Same under performance problem with the panels.
     
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    Last edited: Dec 17, 2017
  13. zztong

    zztong Captain

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    On the Statistics page, what does it say your solar output is?

    How many green bars are showing on the panels?

    Which planet is this? Nevermind, you said Akua.

    What's the weather? Nevermind, you said Clear Sky and Noon.
     
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    Last edited: Dec 17, 2017
  14. zztong

    zztong Captain

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    Also, how long have the panels been in operation? During testing in the Experimental Branch, I noticed problems with panels that have been in place for several days.
     
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  15. The Caveman

    The Caveman Ensign

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    That turned into an extremely difficult question to answer. The panels just straight up stopped working. No led's, no output, nothing. I had to break them and replace them to get them working again. Any attempt to respawn the structure from a bp crashes the game.

    Someone add that to the bug list.

    Two. So it should be about 50%ish efficiancy.
    Pushing out about 450ish kw at peak for an area big enough to park a class 2 cv on.

    Couldn't even make a guess about the ingame days. It ran for several hours early this morning testing the performance over time. IRL days, just today.
     
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    Last edited: Dec 17, 2017
  16. wimpy

    wimpy Lieutenant

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    Factors that will increase or reduce the efficiency in SPACE:
    - Angle of panel towards sun: best efficiency when sun hits perpendicular on panel
    - Distance of sun: the further the orbit playfield is away from sun, the lower the efficiency (eg lower efficiency in Ningues orbit than Aestus orbit)

    On my sector map it shows ningues as the closest orbit to the sun aestus is the 3rd planet in orbit from the sun. Which seems odd that ningues is the coldest planet. This default game. So is ningues going to have the highest efficiency with masperon having the lowest?
    20171217154111_1.jpg
     
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  17. zztong

    zztong Captain

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    I've seen that happen too, though during the Experimental Branch and in Creative Mode. I did report that as a bug during the Experimental Branch testing, but its got to be a toughy for the Devs. You basically have to create a bunch of bases with a panel or two, then let a game run for a while and keep checking the panels.

    Oh, hmm. For my base I assumed folks got 4 green. On Akua, during my screwing around that was pretty much anywhere without shading for horizontal panels.

    Yeh, so several in-game days. (An in-game day is around 30 minute real time, IIRC.
     
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  18. The Caveman

    The Caveman Ensign

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    I have a bp that has the malfunctioning panels in it if a dev wants it.

    Good luck spawning it though. Spits out a memory error and shuts the game down when you try to place it. That's unique to that one bp only and it's never happened before as well so it's not something wrong with my system.
     
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  19. zztong

    zztong Captain

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    I'm sure they'd love to have the BP and a Saved Game. You can report it here...

    https://empyriononline.com/threads/bug-reports-alpha-7-5.34598/

    ... and you'll end up making a ZIP of that stuff to attach.
     
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  20. Slood

    Slood Ensign

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    My pennies worth concerning realism and solar panels---
    I build them as a hobby; so, I can speak a few things about them and the electronics which support them.
    Currently, panels have about a 17% efficiency---at peak--unless in direct sunlight forever (give or take a few % depending upon the proper manufacturing techniques--or the lack there of).

    Heat is the byproduct of panels; perhaps a form of co-generation might be considered to recoup the heat---like a water-based heat exchanger which melts snow off the face of the panels or provides 'warm' water for use by personnel.

    All the factors mentioned above---indirect sunlight of all sorts---to one extent or another---are all true but don't forget the losses of efficiencies as you connect the panels through solar charge controllers, proper wiring----including diameter, etc. and then---ultimately---to the dc load you wish to drive---motors, alarms, etc. (which have losses, too.)

    Inverters create losses----some things you don't want to power by inverters! (computers--as an example.)
    Distance between panels and the panel's load create losses.

    Losses are additive.
     
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