Guide to (relatively) quick, safe, green power for the station: Setting up the Solar Panels

In light of the recent instability of the SM, I wanted to make a guide as to how one can power the station using nothing but the solar panels. This guide assumes that you are entirely new to the engineering department.

Suggested tools/materials:

  1. A hardsuit
  2. At least 80 cable coil (to be on the safe side). Optionally, you can get a cable layer, as it can help make setting up the solar panels both faster and easier. If you want to store the cable in a single place, you can buy a construction bag from an Engi-Vend vender.
  3. Wirecutters
  4. Insulated gloves (or any other form of electrical insulation)
  5. A jetpack (optional)

There are typically four solar panel arrays on most maps, and while not all of them need to be set up, it can still be helpful to do so, just so that there remains a bit of redundancy in the power network.

Wiring a solar panel array
If you are using a cable layer, you can stand over a wire node, which is the nub that can appear at the end of a wire. You can then use the cable layer, if your hand is empty, in order to have it start dispensing cable. If you walk while holding the cable layer, it will dispense cable over the tiles you’ve walked over, in the direction that you’re walking. This eliminates a good chunk of the work with regards to setting up the array.

Once this part is complete, you can connect the solar panel “wings” to the cable “backbone”. This part is a bit finnicky, as you need to be in the correct spot, and you need to click on the correct tile, in order to connect a wing to the backbone. A good rule of thumb is that you should not be standing on the wire nub that you’d like to interact with, and that you should be standing on a tile parallel to the direction that you’d like the cable to be placed. If you have trouble with this step, the cable layer has a handy cable menu that you can use by clicking on its icon at the top of the screen.

This is the final and most crucial step: linking the solar panels, and setting up the SMES. You will need to click on the solar panel control computer, have it scan for the newly-wired solar panels, and then you’ll need to have the tracking be set to “auto”. As for the SMES, set both the input and the output to its maximum of 200 kW. Surprisingly, I’ve found that the SMES will still charge itself despite the fact that the output is greater than the typical input from the solar array (which is, on metastation, a maximum of 90 kW). If this is done for all of the solar arrays on the map, there often ends up being around 700 kW of power in the grid, which is far more than is needed to power the station.

And you’re done with your first array! Now all you need to do is to complete the other three, but that’s not so bad. If you want to reduce the travel time to each array, you can consider using a jetpack, but it’s not critical to have one. Without jetpacks, one can set up all of the solar panel arrays within 15 minutes. With a jetpack, this can get cut down to less than ten minutes.

A tip for when you’re traversing around the hull of the station, in search of the solar panel arrays: if you start to drift off into space, you can pull out space cash from your ID and throw that in order to change the direction that you’re drifting. Or… you can do this. (Don’t be like me…)

The reason this guide has been made
I know that the content of this guide is very much low-hanging fruit, but I felt that it could benefit newer players that may be intimidated by the Supermatter. Setting up the solar panels can allow one the entirety of the rest of the round to experiment and finalize a setup for the Supermatter engine, so that they don’t have to feel pressured to rush setting it up. This goes for any other project that they may have had in mind, for that matter.

Also, I apologize if the quality of this guide is poor. Please let me know how I can improve it, or what changes need to be made to it.

I’m fairly certain the solars can’t power most stations alone, so I’m just here to point out that you’ll likely need another small boost, like a turbine or PACMAN.


Implying that the SM isn’t a green energy source…

It isn’t SAFE, but it does run clean.

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But I think it will extend how long the power lasts, so you could just bug science for yellow slime cells if you really can’t/don’t wanna do the SM

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Lavi would be very proud of this cryphia!!!

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Surprisingly, on Metastation, at least, you can get away with just setting up the solar panels (though I’m not 100% with regards to if this holds true for the other maps).

This was the power monitor for the station after only the solar panels were set up.

I don’t really know why this is, but this is just what I’ve noticed happens if the SMESs for the solar panels have their outputs set to their max. Otherwise, the solar panels prove to be insufficient to power the station.

Unsure exactly how electricity works in the game, but I assume this was on a test server all alone and wouldn’t the power usage be significantly less then? As next to no machines are operating.

Also, I think that the power output of the solars will change throughout the shift depending on the direction of the sun.

Machine power consumption rarely goes above 300kw, and never goes above 400kw. The power monitor remains consistent usually.

Yeah… that’s how the sun works.