Ambient Light Solar?

So my recent explorations in the now much brighter Labs got me thinking about solar power implementation. Currently my understanding is solar power generation requires above ground outdoor location and daylight with good weather.

But of course, solar will actually run on ambient light anywhere. So my questions are: what impact would that kind of implementation have on the game running (for example that could be a lot of tiles getting checked for light levels); and how badly would it disturb game balance (for example placing my atomic lamp next to my panel in my basement base)?

Discussion welcome! 8)

There are several reasons not to do this.

  1. The amount of power this would generate would be tiny, indoor lights are much, much dimmer than direct sunlight, and solar panels are tuned for natural light spectra, making them even more inefficient.
  2. This would be a negative for performance, mostly because when loading a solar panel we calculate power production retroactively, this is hard to do for dynamic light sources.
  3. The fact that some lab lights are perpetual is partially based on them not providing persistent resources for the player, if they provide something harvest able like power, they need to be nerfed to no longer be perpetual.

Actually there is no mismatch due to panel tuning for natural light, the spectral response lines up perfectly well. You’re looking at about 400 to 1100 nm for silicon panel responsivity, which happens to match the spectrum of solar light that makes it through our atmosphere extremely well.

And if the responsivity of the solar panels were engineered to better match the wavelength distribution of the solar light, it would actually improve their performance with visible interior lighting, not decrease it.

I get what you’re saying with your other points though, thanks.

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I just realised that municipal reactors (bright nights) are exploitable this way. I frequently set up in them do to the permanent utility lights and strong structural integrity (once you replace a few glass walls). However, since the utility lights are on the ground floor, if I took out the roof around the light and put solar panels there, they would eternally think they are outside and the lighting is bright. (no night)

It’s not checking ambient light currently, just day/night cycle and weather from what I read. So I don’t think the light there will help.

Hmm never tried taking a roof off. Might be fun. Can I run a cable from solar panels on rooftop down into a building, or does that only work within the same z-level?

I assume Kevin wasn’t talking about the emission spectrum, he was talking about the W/m2 (power per square meter).

Like, imagine a 100 watt bulb with every bit of light landing on your solar panel (unrealistic). The sun puts out something like 1300w/m2 at the earths surface after attenuating through the atmosphere so your panel would be something like 13 times slower running on that, and wouldn’t work in sunlight as well due to being specialized.

Also wouldnt it be smarter to tap into the local grid to harvest power? Like… wall sockets or something.

True story though. The “atomic lamp next to a “solar” panel” is a real idea called a Betavoltaic panel. Converts beta emission into electricity and uses things like plutonium (from your atomic lamp).

Hi Dylan, yes tapping in more directly would be smart if the game gave that option. Remove the bulb and jumper to the socket, for example. But a portable solar setup would be nice just for consistency, whether above ground or below. I’m playing a subways campaign at the moment, rarely emerging above ground.

You’re right that the amount of power will be much lower, but that’s still useful. (1300 W/m^2 would be above atmosphere by the way, more like 1000 at ground.) I was just pointing out that there really is no “specialized” per se in this case, if the panel is good for solar power generation it’s going to be well suited to interior lighting spectrums too. 8)

hmm… I just remember that all the solar power code is in an if (outside) block

If you remove the roof, aren’t you then “outside”?

that’s the point, solar only works if you are outside and, outside is defined as not on a tile with the INDOORS flag

Inside I think is pretty much(correct me if I’m wrong) a tile surrounded by 8 wall/roofs so as no tile has a exterior space near it. Least that’s how it is for cars is if you breach the roof then you have outdoors.