Solar panels less of a no-brainer

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by Deadly-Bagel » Wed May 10, 2017 9:19 am

BlakeMW wrote:Might want to divide by 10.
Derp yep forgot about that xP
Tev wrote:God, people are now crying about uselessness of solar power now?
Thank you for telling us your post is not worth reading by showing a total lack of respect for opinion and suggestion. Saved me some time.
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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by Slayn25 » Thu May 11, 2017 8:06 pm

Though I have yet to try out storing/transporting steam for energy I'm not really liking the concept of it. Steam should lose heat over time when stored. I'd be more interested if a gravity powered energy storage system were introduced.

http://bigthink.com/videos/views-on-fra ... een-energy (~6:30)

Maybe it could double as a storage depot and the more stuff you put in it/on it the greater the energy capacity.

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by NoQ » Sat May 13, 2017 4:44 pm

BlakeMW wrote:
Deadly-Bagel wrote: You can use Coal Liquefaction to turn 10 coal into 10 Heavy, 15 Light and 20 Petroleum. You could use the Light Oil alone for 15 Solid Fuel to burn way longer than the coal (should also make up the energy cost of the Refinery).
Might want to divide by 10. Coal liq turns 10 Coal into (15 + 10 * 3 / 4) / 10 + 2 / 20 = 3.25 Solid Fuel. The 10 Coal = 80MJ, the 3.25 solid = 81.25MJ.

The nominal energy cost: 420kW * 5s + 210kW * 0.25 * 3s / 1.25 + 210kW * 3.25 * 3 / 1.25 = 3.864MJ
(1 Coal Liq cycle + 1/4 a Heavy Oil Cracking cycle + 3.25 Solid Fuel cycles)

That nominal energy cost can be reduced by 80% to 772kJ by efficiency modules, which makes the solid fuel have a very slightly higher energy value. BUT if you're using that solid fuel to burn in a boiler and run the process, then you lose 50% of the energy value of the fuel, in which case not even efficiency modules allow the process to break even.

So the coal->solid fuel conversion is only favorable if you're using solar/nuclear power and want the resulting fuel for purposes other than generating electricity.
Productivity modules give ridiculous amount of fuel value benefit for this process, especially with speed beacon. For example, you get 35 * 1.3 - 25 = 20.5 heavy oil instead of 10, and then you also crack it into 20.5 * (3 / 4) * 1.3 = 19.9875 light oil, and then you also convert it into 19.19875 / 10 * 1.3 = 2.59 solid fuel, which amounts to 64.959375MJ of energy from just heavy oil - and recall that you only paid 80MJ of coal and 3MJ of fuel for heating steam for that. Recipes are fast enough to make machine consumption negligible compared to productivity module benefits, and with additional speed beacons on all phases you can further divide per-item energy consumption by 3. I'd leave the rest of the calculations as an exercise. Anyway, benefiting from coal liquefaction is much easier than gaining fuel value benefits from rocket fuel production (though the latter is possible as well with careful beacon setup). Even more so because you're not forced to convert gas to solid fuel, but you can use it to craft useful recipes instead and avoid cracking light oil in the rest of your factory, which would more-than-double the fuel value benefits from gas.
Tev wrote:God, people are now crying about uselessness of solar power now? :D
Yep, the developer team has implemented an awesome solution to this problem by buffing all other power sources. I'm amazed at how well it went.

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by thereaverofdarkness » Sun May 14, 2017 7:06 am

NoQ wrote:
Tev wrote:God, people are now crying about uselessness of solar power now? :D
Yep, the developer team has implemented an awesome solution to this problem by buffing all other power sources. I'm amazed at how well it went.
I think he mis-read. This is the thread where people complain that solar panels are overpowered. I would agree with that sentiment.

I feel that reducing their power output to 1/4th is completely reasonable. Even on a death world they don't take up all that much space. On train world setting the space they take up is negligible. Also consider their cost to build isn't very high, especially relative to steam engines and nuclear reactors in marathon setting. I could easily solve all of my energy needs by building one little solar array, and the big electric poles it takes to wire the power to all my bases will probably cost more steel and copper than the panels. But I am choosing to not do that because I want an enjoyable game where my problems are actually challenging to solve. Solar is stupidly overpowered.

I've played games with the solar panels set to 6kW output (1/10th) and with limited space like a death world. I found that setting up solar panels was still very important, but actually presented minor logistical difficulties for once. It certainly wasn't what I'd call a difficult game, though.

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by Koub » Sun May 14, 2017 7:56 am

Maybe those who still think solar are still too OP compared to the other power sources available in vanilla could step back and ask themselves "where am I located in the panorama of all Factorio players, from the most casual to the most hardcore player ?"

As an analogy, you people look to me as people running the hard rock 100 and complaining that iron man and marathons are way too easy and should have their distance trippled.
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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by BlakeMW » Sun May 14, 2017 10:40 am

NoQ wrote: Productivity modules give ridiculous amount of fuel value benefit for this process, especially with speed beacon.
Yeah, I remember arguing the same thing about a year ago. The main problem from a practical perspective is that altough the benefit is technically there, you do need to use prod3+speed beacons to get real benefits - and you still want to use those prod3 modules in the recipes with a higher payoff or in case of greater scarcity (i.e. at the moment iron is the scarcest resource). Coal liq is down at about copper wire and it's not using a scarce resource as usually coal is not a limiting resource, so there are many recipes which will be higher priority for prod3 modules, and the ROI on the expensive modules is not that good.

When using cheap modules, it's very hard to improve upon 3x eff1 for coal liq. Technically the highest boiler-energy per cycle is 2x eff1, 1x prod1, which produce about 2% more energy from the coal, but suffers the 15% penalty to conversion rate, otherwise the speed and consumption penalties hurt more than the production helps.

In the end, you can't really benefit from prod1 in coal liq, and by the time you have surplus prod3 modules you'll have much better options than burning solid fuel (i.e. nuclear). So using productivity for a solid fuel power plant is good in theory, basically pointless in practise.

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by thereaverofdarkness » Sun May 14, 2017 11:04 am

Koub wrote:Maybe those who still think solar are still too OP compared to the other power sources available in vanilla could step back and ask themselves "where am I located in the panorama of all Factorio players, from the most casual to the most hardcore player ?"

As an analogy, you people look to me as people running the hard rock 100 and complaining that iron man and marathons are way too easy and should have their distance trippled.
I see your point.

I sort of feel all of the power sources are overpowered, and inventory, and trains, and...

I'd like more settings to make the game more difficult, so I can choose to play that way even if other people don't want to.

P.S.: I did carry about 40 kg of equipment over a 25 mile course in Marine Corps boot camp once, and I scoffed at the other recruits complaining it was difficult because I thought it was easy. We were given 3 meals over 3 days plus the occasional snack and I sold my meals. So maybe I am a bit more hardcore than I give myself credit for.

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by Nexarius » Sun May 14, 2017 12:37 pm

+1 for hardcode mode

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by Deadly-Bagel » Mon May 15, 2017 4:11 pm

But these should be options. There are various methods of playing the game, and making certain bits hard "just because" makes a lot of the other fun modes impossible.

For example I'm doing a no-belts run. Getting to bots was a headache but I didn't think the bit after that would be even harder. The first thing that happened is I ran out of power, so set up a production of solar panels (already burning through chests of coal). The limiting factor was steel, just didn't have enough of it. Got a whole solar array build, some 190 panels (almost 5,000 Steel) but it wasn't enough. Stamped down a second blueprint, steel is still a huge issue. I'll just add more furnaces right? Well I needed more iron first so put down a ton of miners and some more furnaces to smelt the ore, oops now I'm out of power again.

Needed two more solar arrays to get power stabilised (this is in addition to two steam columns) while I kept adding more steel production, but again the power drain to make the steel for the panels was higher than I was getting for the panels. Lay down a fourth blueprint so that's almost 20,000 Steel and 60,000 Electronic Circuits and I've basically made no progress. Also, despite having a large starting area (Rail World) the pollution cloud is attracting biters but has also hastened the evolution to medium biters, but I don't have any steel to make the AP rounds for the turrets!

Are those really numbers you can spare in the mid game? Yeah it's simple to say "add more production" but how do you do that with no power and how do you add power with no production? It's easier to just ignore solar, I'm wishing I'd just set up a coal rail sooner and used more Steam Engines. It would have meant a ton of trips back and forth to fill the chests until I got the train going but it wouldn't have been the five or so hours I've wasted building a paltry solar farm.

I've been wondering what it is that's set it apart from 0.14 as it seems a lot more tedious now, and I think there's two main reasons. First of all solar power was your endgame so you were going to need it anyway. Mostly this just makes solar a waste of resources but I was just wondering why that would make it harder to set up in the first place. I realised it's due to the new cost of science. Previously steel wasn't a commonly used resource in the early game, you needed it for solar panels and furnaces, maybe a few rails. Now, any research using Science Pack 3 and Production Science Pack not only needs a LOT more Iron but it now needs 7 steel per. This isn't only a drain on the resources themselves but you need a lot more power to mine and process it, meaning you not only have less resources to put into Solar Panels but you need more of them.
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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by iceman_1212 » Tue May 16, 2017 12:11 am

Deadly-Bagel wrote:I've been wondering what it is that's set it apart from 0.14 as it seems a lot more tedious now, and I think there's two main reasons. First of all solar power was your endgame so you were going to need it anyway. Mostly this just makes solar a waste of resources but I was just wondering why that would make it harder to set up in the first place. I realised it's due to the new cost of science. Previously steel wasn't a commonly used resource in the early game, you needed it for solar panels and furnaces, maybe a few rails. Now, any research using Science Pack 3 and Production Science Pack not only needs a LOT more Iron but it now needs 7 steel per. This isn't only a drain on the resources themselves but you need a lot more power to mine and process it, meaning you not only have less resources to put into Solar Panels but you need more of them.

My experience is similar. The absolute cost of solar is unchanged but the opportunity cost of the steel and (especially) green circuits has gone up dramatically because of both new science recipes as well as the introduction of infinite research. Also, nuclear is a far cheaper alternative.

Let's compare cost of 1gw solar and 1gw nuclear. It takes 23.8k solar panels (and the corresponding # of accumulators at 0.84 ratio) to generate 1gw over a day-night cycle, which costs (approx) 360k green circuits, 120k steel, 120k copper, 40k iron and 100k batteries (i.e., an additional ~71k iron and ~71k copper in best case assuming prod3 modules, of which the solar player probably can't afford too many until extreme late game because of green circuit shortage after spending on panels and high tech pack). Note: this does not take into account the roboports and the construction bots that are needed to put down the typical solar array configurations.

In contrast, a 1gw nuclear setup has a cost of 75k copper / 16k steel / 12k plastic / 12k green circuits / 40k iron (8 reactors, 112 heat exchangers, 200 steam turbines, assuming 1k heat pipes and 20 centrifuges). The difference is massive but it ofc makes sense that we ought to pay some kind of premium for solar given that it is maintenance free.

In context of the cost difference, the suggestion to nerf solar panel output by 4x (or even by less than 4x) is anything but reasonable. If anything, I would say that nuclear may be too cheap right now but I haven't played enough on the 0.15 patch to be sure of this.

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by BlakeMW » Tue May 16, 2017 8:30 am

I have been wondering about the actual value of the Nuclear tech, i.e. how many solar panels you can buy for the cost of researching Nuclear.

Quick back of the envelope looks like the opportunity cost of researching nuclear is about 3600 solar panels, or 151MW (at 42kW for day-night average), which happens to be about the same output as a 2x nuclear reactor setup. On Marathon/Deathworld because techs are 4x as expensive you can probably get 4x as much power: 600MW of solar/accu for the price of the research alone.

Given that a rocket can be launched on about 30MW (using eff modules) and 100MW is ample for a modest beaconized setups and 600MW will run a giant Deathworld factory (building megabases on Deathworld ain't easy) I should think that solar is still plenty good and will usually be a more cost-effective solution than investing in nuclear power. Although Nuclear is awesome for megabases, because get above those MW scales and you have advantage of cheaper and more compact.

Also, to be completely fair, some of those numbers could be reduced by up to half to account for productivity modules benefiting research a great deal.

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by Deadly-Bagel » Tue May 16, 2017 1:41 pm

BlakeMW wrote:Quick back of the envelope looks like the opportunity cost of researching nuclear is about 3600 solar panels, or 151MW (at 42kW for day-night average)
I assume you're including the Kovarex process and maybe not accumulators because just the Nuclear Power research requires 41,500 Iron and 12,000 Copper while each Solar Panel and 0.84 of an Accumulator uses 45.88 Iron and 31.70 Copper (also a significant amount of Sulphuric Acid not included in calculations). If you consider Iron and Copper ore equally valued then 53,500 / 77.58 = 689.6 Solar Panels plus their accumulators = 29MW, FAR lower than your 151MW figure. Additionally the vast majority of the Iron required for the research is as Iron, for the Solar Panels more Iron is used as Steel which requires significantly more power and time to make.

If you're intending on skipping straight to Kovarex then sure, solar power is -technically- cheaper. Practically however, it's more efficient to get nuclear power first and just set up enough miners and Centrifuges to both power the Reactor and generate a surplus of U-235. For the same resources you will get more power and it will cost you less land. As you are going to research Kovarex anyway you're better off in the long run too.
BlakeMW wrote:On Marathon/Deathworld because techs are 4x as expensive you can probably get 4x as much power: 600MW of solar/accu for the price of the research alone.
You forgot to consider the increased cost of Solar Panels, which in terms of ore are 2.214x as expensive so by your calculations that's 272.8MW , by omitting Kovarex research you're only getting 52.4MW in Solar Panels. And this is assuming Science is actually 4x as expensive, sure Science Pack 3 looks about that but SP1 and SP2 aren't even close. Additionally the cost of expanding Nuclear is far cheaper, and as you require a LOT more power to build all the extra components in hardcore mode you're going to want to expand.
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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by dragontamer5788 » Tue May 16, 2017 4:24 pm

BlakeMW wrote:I have been wondering about the actual value of the Nuclear tech, i.e. how many solar panels you can buy for the cost of researching Nuclear.
It roughly takes 1-centrifuge to 1-reactor. Every 1900 seconds, a U-235 is popped out on the average (creating 10-fuel cells). It takes 2000 seconds for 1-reactor to consume 10-fuel cells.

Assuming a good steam-storage setup + combinators giving the absolute minimum fuel cells needed to keep running... and a 2x2 Reactor (and yes, I do realize that 2000 Adv. Circuits is a big investment...), you can achieve 480MW of peak power. But more importantly, each of those fuel cells are consumed at effectively 33% rate. With the 2x2 Reactor setup, you're getting 240000 MJ every 1900 seconds (on the average) or the ability to run 126MW perpetually @ roughly 50% chance (Granted: you don't actually know when you get the next U-235. It averages out to 126MW with a lot of variance).

For smaller bases, going with a 2x2 reactor, 48 Heat Exchangers, and like... 40 storage tanks (to store the 96000 MJ of power from the 2x2 Reactor consuming 4-fuel cells) means a single centrifuge without Kovarex is 126MW or so. You can get a higher than 50% chance of "winning" by storing up a few more U-235 before starting up the reactor... or by simply running a second centrifuge.

Basically: Kovarex Enrichment is optional for nuclear power. Its clearly needed for atomic bombs however.

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by aka13 » Tue May 16, 2017 6:06 pm

thereaverofdarkness wrote:
Koub wrote:Maybe those who still think solar are still too OP compared to the other power sources available in vanilla could step back and ask themselves "where am I located in the panorama of all Factorio players, from the most casual to the most hardcore player ?"

As an analogy, you people look to me as people running the hard rock 100 and complaining that iron man and marathons are way too easy and should have their distance trippled.
I see your point.

I sort of feel all of the power sources are overpowered, and inventory, and trains, and...

I'd like more settings to make the game more difficult, so I can choose to play that way even if other people don't want to.

P.S.: I did carry about 40 kg of equipment over a 25 mile course in Marine Corps boot camp once, and I scoffed at the other recruits complaining it was difficult because I thought it was easy. We were given 3 meals over 3 days plus the occasional snack and I sold my meals. So maybe I am a bit more hardcore than I give myself credit for.
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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by BlakeMW » Tue May 16, 2017 6:21 pm

Deadly-Bagel wrote:And this is assuming Science is actually 4x as expensive, sure Science Pack 3 looks about that but SP1 and SP2 aren't even close. Additionally the cost of expanding Nuclear is far cheaper, and as you require a LOT more power to build all the extra components in hardcore mode you're going to want to expand.
All techs require 4x as many beakers on Deathworld/Marathon - it makes techs very expensive compared with "stuff" and tends to disrupt the balance when faced with the choice of using more of a low tech solution, or less of a high tech alternative. For example you might just choose to spam poison capsules rather than invest in combat robots because you can get ludicrous amounts of poison for the cost of the robot techs.

Anyway, I appreciate you doing the maths, but I also wants to do it myself again (this time not on the back of an envelope) because I want to try and take into account reasonable/no-brainer use of productivity since it's so important by the time one is thinking of investing in expensive techs.

Solar Panel: 67.5 resources
Accumulator: 17 resources (I'm calling 100 acid 5 resources - it benefits from productivity really well and oil doesn't feel so expensive in this version)

1 Solar + 0.84 accu = 71.78 resources

Beakers: red = 3 resources, green = 7, blue = 46.5

Nuclear Power research = 56500 resources
2x Nuclear Reactor = 25000 (* it seems criminal to use only one - but I'll ignore all the other infrastructure)

81500 / 72 = ~1100 Solar Panels w/ accumulators = 48MW

So you could say, for the cost of a basic nuclear setup you could get about 50MW of solar/accu - the basic nuclear setup would easily generate that much electricity. So far, so good. Now for enrichment for which I'll assume a moderate use of productivity because it's more than expensive enough to justify it.

More beakers: Prod: 152 resources, Tech: 306 (but I'll adjust by /1.4 to 218 because the ingredients benefit from productivity really well).

Total = 426 : but I'll further adjust by / (1.4 * 1.2) for the sensible use of productivity modules when making the packs and in the labs, for a cost per research cycle of ~253
250 * 1500 = ~375000 resources

Which would be worth ~4500 Solar Panels w/ accus = ~200MW.

The Marathon/Deathworld adjusted numbers are thus 192MW for a basic setup, and 800MW for the enrichment setup. You do tend to productivity all the things on Deathworld because the tech is so goddamn expensive making lots of room for return on investment, and research benefits more in that regard than solar panels, so these numbers could be reduced somewhat to account for increased use of productivity - especially the basic setup number for which I didn't assume (much) productivity.

My conclusion would be that it's probably generally worth pursuing nuclear in the normal game since altough you can get a fair amount of solar/accu, the nuclear setup can trivially go a lot bigger (easily up to 160MW) for very little extra cost, on Marathon/Deathworld it's more dubious. On my current Deathworld my factory is at the point where I can consider investing the 4000 R,G,B beakers into nuclear power and the factory is using about 50MW (coal power). So it looks to me that at this stage nuclear is still a very expensive proposition relative to alternatives. Then again, once prod3 modules are in play and slashing the cost of research the break even point would come down to a more reasonable number - about 100MW, about what I'd expect the factory to be consuming once beacons are in play. Enrichment would still be a dubious proposition since I somehow don't expect the factory to get much in excess of 300MW. Enrichment on Deathworld is basically for a gigafactory (or producing nukes), otherwise there are trivially cheaper ways to generate the electricity.

A final thing to note is that Solar/Accu is a better copper sink than research, having a 3:2 iron bias, compared with a 3:1 iron bias for RGB science. I treated 1 Iron = 1 Copper, a fairer ratio would be probably halve the value of copper for purposes of early-mid game when progress is almost entirely limited by iron. This favors solar/accu in early/mid game - altough burning coal is even more favorable since it's even more worthless than copper.

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by Deadly-Bagel » Wed May 17, 2017 10:41 am

BlakeMW wrote:All techs require 4x as many beakers on Deathworld/Marathon
Ah yes I vaguely remember reading that somewhere, fair enough. Don't intend on doing a marathon run, maybe once I upgrade my laptop.
BlakeMW wrote:Now for enrichment
Enrichment only needs to be considered in this way if the available Uranium Ore deposits are so small and sparse that they can't support a reactor with U-235 and generate a surplus. This seems pretty unlikely unless you're playing a starved world in which case good luck wasting all those resources on solar. Even if you intend to only use ~50MW max through the whole game, research and a single reactor is comparable in cost.
BlakeMW wrote:My conclusion would be that ... on Marathon/Deathworld it's more dubious. On my current Deathworld my factory is at the point where I can consider investing the 4000 R,G,B beakers into nuclear power and the factory is using about 50MW (coal power). So it looks to me that at this stage nuclear is still a very expensive proposition relative to alternatives.
Yes but you're almost certainly going to need it eventually, all those extra productivity modules are going to consume a hell of a lot of power. In my regular game running Prod3-boosted Iron furnaces and Circuit production I think I was chewing through 450MW easily, think I had eight reactors in the end so in the long run nuclear is absolutely the most viable option. However, short-term isn't that simple. The investment of resources for solar power pays off immediately as it is invested over time, your power supply will slowly improve as the panels are built and placed. Nuclear power only pays off once it is all invested, you've done your research and built a Reactor, Centrifuge and Steam Turbines. Especially on a marathon world it can be difficult to supply enough power from coal boilers alone to actually get to that stage, and good luck using any quantity of modules. Actually I wouldn't be surprised if the cost of the modules themselves exceeded the return on just that research, so you're better off researching nuclear first, then building modules. Maybe you could use T1 modules however you'd suffer 30% speed penalty AND almost double power consumption for an 8% return. The speed penalty depends on your supply vs demand (if supplied components are less than production capacity then the speed loss isn't relevant) and power consumption depends on if you have enough power, as to whether T1 modules are viable.

My conclusion is therefore that it would be more beneficial for everyone if Solar Panels were made significantly cheaper.

EDIT: Interesting note, the title of this topic is "Solar panels less of a no-brainer". Originally this meant it was a no-brainer to use them, but now it's a no-brainer to not use them so the topic title is still (almost) relevant! =D
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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by BlakeMW » Wed May 17, 2017 12:45 pm

Deadly-Bagel wrote: Enrichment only needs to be considered in this way if the available Uranium Ore deposits are so small and sparse that they can't support a reactor with U-235 and generate a surplus. This seems pretty unlikely unless you're playing a starved world in which case good luck wasting all those resources on solar. Even if you intend to only use ~50MW max through the whole game, research and a single reactor is comparable in cost.
It doesn't really make a difference, because the iron investment for research is just as great for that of building solar panels and on a starved world you're not going to have heavy power requirements.
Yes but you're almost certainly going to need it eventually, all those extra productivity modules are going to consume a hell of a lot of power. In my regular game running Prod3-boosted Iron furnaces and Circuit production I think I was chewing through 450MW easily, think I had eight reactors in the end so in the long run nuclear is absolutely the most viable option. However, short-term isn't that simple. The investment of resources for solar power pays off immediately as it is invested over time, your power supply will slowly improve as the panels are built and placed. Nuclear power only pays off once it is all invested, you've done your research and built a Reactor, Centrifuge and Steam Turbines.
This is well reasoned. It's definitely a big advantage that you can start the solar/accu investment a lot earlier, and build on it. I think for a world where all you want to do is launch a rocket then roll a new world, nuclear is definitely not worth the investment compared with solar/accu, or sticking with coal.
Especially on a marathon world it can be difficult to supply enough power from coal boilers alone to actually get to that stage, and good luck using any quantity of modules. Actually I wouldn't be surprised if the cost of the modules themselves exceeded the return on just that research, so you're better off researching nuclear first, then building modules. Maybe you could use T1 modules however you'd suffer 30% speed penalty AND almost double power consumption for an 8% return. The speed penalty depends on your supply vs demand (if supplied components are less than production capacity then the speed loss isn't relevant) and power consumption depends on if you have enough power, as to whether T1 modules are viable.
You can also use as much coal power as you like as there is heaps of coal left on the ground behind the ruthless pursuit of more iron patches - even using 100% coal power I only seem to consume about half as much coal patches as iron patches.

I've done the maths on prod1 modules and they provide a very good cost benefit, altough it's small being only 8% per tier. But what I mean by it's good, is that if you use prod1 in assembler 2 making military science packs, then you end up needing to mine and burn about 1 extra coal, to save the need to mine and process about 7 extra ore (plus intermediates), being able to replace 7 drills pulling up iron/copper, for 1 drill digging up coal is a great deal. It ends up a saving of something like 0.5 resource/second and the prod1 module only costs 155 resources on Marathon, in this case the payoff time is not more than 20 minutes (this is actually exactly the same as standard settings, because with very few exceptions recipes are consuming 2-2.5x as much resources but have the same time requirement, it's exactly proportional to the increased cost of the modules). Even for less favorable recipes (like say engine) prod1 allows doing what is effectively a "coal to iron" conversion, that is you might have to burn one extra coal to save having to mine one iron, but there's no opportunity cost to burning coal other than the pollution, and in Marathon and Deathworld because teching is so slow you're in the Big Biter era before you know it. Putting prod1 in the research packs and labs is a cumulative 1.08*1.08 = 16.6% productivity boost for way less work than expanding everything under it by 16.6%.

Payoff times are remarkably similar for Prod3+Speed3 beacon setups due to synergy, firstly: the modules are cheaper because you make them with prod3 in all the intermediates, secondly, they run with the benefit of +400% speed.

Most importantly with Modules, is they are mostly copper. Spending a shittonne of copper making modules, to save a shittone of iron on research, is a fantastic deal. Maybe this extreme iron bias dynamic will go away one day, but for the moment if you can dump copper/coal into something to save iron, it tends to be a good deal.
My conclusion is therefore that it would be more beneficial for everyone if Solar Panels were made significantly cheaper.
[/quote]

I wouldn't disagree with that. Alternatively, if the general iron-bias in research is an intended thing, then solar panels could be kept just as expensive but made more copper-hungry, basically replacing some of the steel with more circuits or copper plates.

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Deadly-Bagel
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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by Deadly-Bagel » Wed May 17, 2017 4:40 pm

But as you said copper and iron don't translate 1:1 and you additionally don't need the power-hungry and time-consuming process of melting it into Steel so by using copper instead of Steel you're essentially making Solar Panels cheaper. Using 2 Steel instead of 5 (15 less Iron) and additionally requiring say 50 Copper Wire (16.67 Copper) you're using more Copper than Iron but you're saving 4.725MJ of power in Steel smelting cost and using 1.67MJ to assemble the Copper Wire, so per panel you're saving 3.06MJ. For your 1100 Solar Panels required for 48MW you would save 3,364.17MJ of power. This isn't only a saving of 420 pieces of coal, you're effectively replacing 2.4 Furnaces with a single T2 Assembler times whatever your production of panels is.
BlakeMW wrote:I think for a world where all you want to do is launch a rocket then roll a new world, nuclear is definitely not worth the investment compared with solar/accu, or sticking with coal.
As you said the cost is comparable. On one hand nuclear takes longer to see a return on but the sheer amount of steel required for the panels is harder to make.
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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by BlakeMW » Wed May 17, 2017 11:24 pm

Actually something else worth mentioning is Eff1 Modules: A watt saved by eff1 tends to be cheaper than a watt generated by solar/accu in machines consuming more than about 120kW - with the new iron-bias it might even by as low as 90kW since eff1 modules are so copper-biased. As a bonus they reduce pollution.

Assuming you've unlocked them, and they are mere green tech, eff1 modules are nearly always a better investment than solar/accu until you'e run out of places to put them. Once you've fully effed up a factory the MW requirements can be ludicrously low, a reasonable factory for launching a rocket might only require 10-20MW for most the game - increasing to 30MW with high tech research and rocket production: that's assuming you're using a little prod3+speed, if you get assembler 3 and go -80% energy usage it can be down around 20MW even building the rocket. Definitely not a use case for Nuclear Power.

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by 5thHorseman » Wed May 17, 2017 11:33 pm

BlakeMW wrote:Once you've fully effed up a factory the MW requirements can be ludicrously low
Sometimes I eff them up so bad their power requirements are near zero.
"So you completed the game with a spaghetti factory? Well I hand crafted a rocket and threw it into space with my bare hands!"

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