My problem is, given static energy usage (say, N), how much energy collection (expressed in N):
- I need for ship in general case? (So that in most start systems that will be enough.)
- I need for my base? (Assuming, the star energy and distance to star are known.)
If you have a static energy requirement of N, and you have X energy collection per energy collector, then in general Y energy collectors is a safe number to have, where Y is a number such that X*Y > N. This is true regardless of whether you're talking about a ship or a station.
You may want to add additional energy collectors to the design so that you have a bit of leeway, especially if your ships or stations are spending lots of time close to the system borders. The chart in the Guide to Energy thread linked above uses range units of "fraction of system radius," using one-tenth increments from 0 (where the star sits if it's a regular system, or the center of the black hole, nova remnant, or gas cloud can be found) to 1 (where the line the game draws around the system when you select it and zoom in is drawn), while the energy collection rate is presumably given in units of energy per second (same units as reactor output). The chart was drawn for an energy collector with an energy collection rating of 24; the energy collection rate of the energy collector used in the experiment is at least this great as long as you're in the inner 90% of the system radius, which is true in most cases. You may want to build in a bit of leeway so that you have a little bit extra for the occasional stations that do get built at the very edge of star systems, but don't go overboard; even if you provide two or three times the energy collection as you have static needs, you're only moving the boundary from ~90% of the system radius to ~95% of the system radius (energy collection is double the static requirement) or ~97% of the system radius (energy collection is triple the static requirement) in most types of systems (clouds and black holes are exceptions, but there's almost literally no reason to have a base on the outskirts of either a cloud or a black hole; the only useful feature of the system is towards the center of the system and the position of for example a long-range scanner platform like a monitoring base within the system will not significantly affect its coverage).
Generally speaking, this means you basically want 1 energy collector on every ship of size 300 or less, as that will cover the static requirements of the majority of such vessels, while a size-3000 space station might have 50 energy collectors depending on what the static requirements are. You can also theoretically use energy collectors to power the weapons of your space stations, but I would not advise doing so; if you wanted to have a space-efficient energy collection network for powering a station's weapons, you would also need to know where within the system and in what kind of system you're building the station, while if you're designing for sufficient coverage in the general case a reactor is just significantly more space-efficient, and you need some amount of reactor storage capacity to fire the weapons anyways.
What is unit of "distance from start"?
Fraction of system radius measured from the system center to the system border (the point where the game draws the line when the system is selected). The scale on the bottom of the chart has increments of tenths of the system radius.
What is unit of "collection rate"?
Energy per real-world second at normal game speed (e.g. x1 speed, not x0.5 or x2 or x4) is the only reasonable unit to use, though it is not explicitly stated anywhere, as this is the unit for reactor output, static requirements, movement energy requirements, and weapon energy requirements (the summary in the design screen, not the listed energy requirement in the weapon information; the latter is the per-shot energy requirement of the weapon, which tells you how much reactor storage capacity you need to be able to use that weapon).
Quick summary of what I said above:
If you set your design's energy collection to be equal to the static energy requirements of the design, then you're good to go for any use within about 90% of the system radius in any system (black holes and oxygen clouds let you go further out before you start having issues, but these are the only exceptions shown within the chart), measuring from the system center. If you set your design's energy collection to be twice the static energy requirements of the design, you're good to go for any use within about 95% of the system radius, measuring from the system center, while if you set your design's energy collection to be about three times the static energy requirements, you're good to go for any use within about 97% of the system radius.
Thus, in the majority of cases, having energy collection greater than or equal to the static energy requirement is sufficient for a design even though it is not necessarily optimal (depending on where you build the station within the system). This will translate to about 1 energy collector on most ship designs below 300 size; bases may require greater investment in energy collectors.
< Message edited by Aeson -- 8/3/2014 7:59:03 PM >