Solar Panels are included with the Sims 4 Eco Lifestyle expansion pack. Solar Panels energy production does vary depending on a few different factors, but they are a great alternative energy source that can create a greener footprint for your sim.
If you are wondering how to get solar panels, how to use them, and the factors that will determine their effectiveness in powering your sim’s home keep reading below. This article will go over all the details you need to know about using solar panels in the Sims 4.
Where to find solar panels?
You can purchase solar panels in the build/buy mode. You can find them under both “objects by room” and “objects by functions” tabs. If you are looking at objects by room you will want to look under “outdoor” (the small grill icon on the top of the menu) and then select “outdoor activities” (the gardening box with a plant growing out of it). You will find both the ground solar panel and roof solar panel in the buy menu.
If you are looking at the “objects by function” tab you will want to select “Appliances” from the drop down menu. Then select “Misc” (the three dots in a box). You have to scroll a bit through the buy menu but you will find both the ground solar panel and roof solar panels in the buy menu.
Where can you place solar panels?
When building your house or community lot, you have two main options on where you can place your solar panels. You can purchase “Solar Panel – Ground” which you can place anywhere outside so long as it is on the ground. You can also place these on a balcony or porch they will just take up floor space, you will just want to make sure that any roofing is not blocking them from being directly in the sun.
You also have the option to purchase “Solar Panel – Roof.” These solar panels must be placed on your roof. If you plan on using roof mounted solar panels you will want to be conscious of how you build your roof. You will want to make sure to leave a surface large enough to house your solar panels. They cannot be placed where roof sections interest with each other or where roof sections intersect with walls.
You can use some cheats to put solar panels in areas they do not normally go. You can use the bb.moveobjects cheat to allow you to place objects where you normally could not. For instance, if you’d like to place roof mounting solar panels on the ground, the move objects cheat will allow you to do so.
If you want to learn more about moving objects and how to place objects to create more complex builds, you can learn everything you need to know in my ultimate guide to moving objects.
Difference between ground solar panels and roof solar panels.
If you are deciding on whether to use ground or roof solar panels there are a few differences you will want to keep in mind. First the obvious difference is where you can place these without using cheats, the solar panel – ground must be placed on the ground and will take up floor space, the solar panel – roof must be placed on the roof and won’t be in your sim’s way.
You will also notice that the roof solar panels are more expensive than the ground solar panels. Solar panel – ground cost $675 and solar panel – roof cost a bit more at $850. There is a good reason for the cost difference.
If you choose to go with ground solar panels they can break and you will be tasked with fixing them whenever they break and cleaning them when they get dirty. When your solar panels break they will stop producing electricity and you might lose power because your solar panels have been down for too long. With these solar panels you do have the option to upgrade them.
Unlike the ground solar panels you do not have to do as much maintenance with the roof solar panels. Since sims cannot access the roof the Solar Panel – Roof is unbreakable and you won’t have to worry about the possibility of lost energy production.
What upgrades can you do to your solar panels?
If you choose to purchase “Solar Panel – Ground” you do have the option to upgrade them. There are two upgrades you can add to your solar panels either “Unbreakable” or “Self Cleaning.” The unbreakable upgrade will keep your solar panels from breaking and being out of commission.
There are two ways you can add unbreakable to your solar panels. You can use regular upgrade parts or eco parts. If you choose to use regular upgrade parts your sim must be Handiness Level 8 and it will cost your sim 3 common upgrade parts and 2 electronic upgrade parts. If you choose to use eco upgrade parts your sim does not need to have any handiness skill but it will cost 9 Eco Parts. Eco upgrade parts are harder to come by, unlike regular parts your sim cannot purchase them. You must either find them or fabricate them using the fabricator.
The self cleaning upgrade will keep your solar panels from getting dirty, which will keep them working as effectively as possible. Similarly you can add self cleaning using either regular upgrade parts or eco upgrade parts. If you choose to use regular upgrade parts you will need to be at least handiness level 6 and it will cost your sim 2 common upgrade parts and 1 electronic upgrade part. If you choose to use eco parts no handiness skill is required and it will cost your sim 7 eco upgrade parts.
How do solar panels affect your eco footprint?
Your eco footprint can be either green, neutral, or industrial. A huge factor that affects your eco footprint is what items and objects you use in your builds. You will notice when building that if you hover over certain objects they will have an eco foot print rating, it will either be “Eco Footprint Green” or “Eco Footprint Industrial.”
Solar panels in particular have a Eco Footprint Green: 3 rating and so adding multiple to your lot will help you achieve a green eco footprint for your lot. In addition, solar panels create green energy and keep you from using too much electricity which also help your sim have a greener footprint.
You can learn about Eco Footprints, how to influence them and how your eco footprint will affect your sim in this guide.
While solar panels will aid in a greener environment you will need more than just a few solar panels on every lot to get a green eco footprint for your neighborhood. You will want to make sure you avoid fires of all types, and other build items such as wall papers that have an industrial rating.
How much energy do solar panels create?
The amount of energy your solar panels create depends on a few different factors. The biggest factor being whether it is day or night. Solar Panels will not produce any energy during the nighttime hours, so if you are barely creating enough energy to be self sufficient you will want to watch your sim’s energy usage when the sun is not out.
If you have Sims 4 Seasons the weather will affect your energy production. If it is a sunny day with clear skies your solar panels will work at the optimal level and produce 6 units of energy per solar panel per day. However, if it is raining or is cloudy you will see less energy production from your solar panels. The table below lays out the energy production you can expect per solar panel per day depending on the weather.
|Weather Condition||Energy Production|
|Sunny (Clear Skies)||+6.00|
The current eco footprint of your sim’s neighborhood will also have an effect on your solar panel’s energy production. The following rates do not take weather into consideration. Having a green eco footprint make solar panels more efficient and will bump your rate up to 7.08 units of energy per solar panel per day. However, having an industrial footprint will make your solar panels less efficient, you will only get 4.92 units of energy per solar panel per day.
How do I know how much energy I need?
If you are trying to be self sufficient or trying the off-the-grid lot challenge (everything you need to know about being off-the-grid is laid out in my guide my guide) it is important to know how much energy you use so you can determine how much energy and how many solar panels you may need.
You can check your bills information to determine how much energy you use per day. You will want to look at your “Rate of Change.” Ideally, if you are trying to be self sufficient you will have a positive rate of change and you can choose to “Store” your energy so you have some in case of inclement weather or a solar panel or an appliance breaks.
If you are wondering how to check your bill information and what affects your bills and how you can potentially reduce them, you can learn everything about bills and utilities in this guide.
If you have a negative rate of change you will need to either get rid of some of your objects that use a lot of energy or purchase more solar panels. You will want to pay attention to the power consumption rate when you are purchasing objects that require electricity. Objects that have a higher power consumption rating will be more energy efficient. You can learn exactly what the power consumption rating means and what to expect in this article.