Solar Power Generators are an alternate type of power generator used in the Frontier. They are also called "Solar Generators" or "Solar Cells". They are used in many settings where more bulky or mechanical generators would not be appropriate.

Physical Description Edit

Solar generators consist of one or more flat, dark blue or black photovoltaic panels. These panels convert ambient light into electrical energy. Panels vary in size according to the type of generator. There are a number of standard types whose panels range from 90cm2 (Type AAA) to beyond 48m2 (Type 6), but a character could commission a custom design based on his individual needs and preferences.[1]

Power from the generator is routed directly into a device or structure or it may be stored in one or more parabatteries, which must be purchased separately. Solar generators are also capable of recharging power beltpacks and backpacks.

Energy Output Edit

The output of a solar generator depends on the size of the photovoltaic panels. A panel measuring 1.5m2 produces 1100 SEU/hour.

Limitations Edit

Solar generators require a certain amount of light to operate a optimum output. They are less effective on planets orbiting dim stars or in overcast conditions. Likewise they cannot operate effectively at night.

High heat (above 32oC) will also cause the system to lose efficiency (and ultimately wear out more quickly).

GMs may deduct a percentage from a given generators' output based on poor conditions.[2] In addition, larger generators require a not inconsiderable amount of space to spread out the panels, which can limit the amount of power generated based on the space available.

Maintenance Edit

Since solar generators have so few parts (almost none of them moving ones) they are extremely reliable. Most needed maintenance involves any associated power storage/distribution systems. One problematic area is the photovoltaic panels themselves. While sturdily constructed against normal wear and tear, they are vulnerable to impact damage (from weapons fire, falling objects, etc). When such damage occurs, the panels will have to be replaced, as they are sealed units.

Operational Endurance Edit

A solar generators' photovoltaic panels typically lose approximately 0.5% efficiency per year. Therefore most engineers design solar power systems with an expected lifetime of 25-30 years.[3]

Types Edit

Mass Panel Area
AAA 60 0.0167 20 1.5 90cm
AA 115 0.0319 40 3 170cm
A 225 0.0625 75 6.25 350cm
0 550 0.1527 150 12.5 700cm
1 1100 0.3055 300 25 1.5m
2 2200 0.6110 600 50 3m
3 4400 1.2220 1200 100 6m
4 8800 2.4440 2400 200 12m
5 17600 4.8880 4800 400 24m
6 35200 9.7760 9600 600 48m
Above 6 (per type) x2 x2 x2 x2 x2

Notes and References Edit

  1. The cost of a custom design would of course have to be negotiated between character and designer.
  2. I would suggest no more than -5% per for up to 3 negative conditions (so a max of -15%).
  3. Again, certain unfavorable conditions such as regular heat above 32oC, or constant wind-blown sand, etc, degrade the system and may result in the GM subtracting a percentage from that lifespan.

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