A veteran "Rust" degenerate with 3k hours, a rock, and a dream.
Electricity in Rust
An increasingly pivotal aspect of Rust is the use of electricity, which enables all sorts of useful things—auto-turrets for defense or raiding, lights, berry or hemp farms, and even dance floors and music. A lot can come from a competent electrician, and that starts with generating power.
This guide will cover how to make solar panels and wind turbines to most effectively generate power so that you can create more circuits with fewer resources.
Using Solar Panels Optimally
Solar panels are the most accessible power source in Rust. They can be crafted on a level 1 workbench, they are comparatively cheap, they drop commonly around the map, and can be placed fairly easily on top of your base to start generating power.
Unsurprisingly, you want your solar panel facing the sun. When the sun is direct the power output reaches 20, but that's only the case for some of the day. Picking up and rotating your solar panel isn't practical as it would be too tedious and damage it. You have to pick a direction to face it, but which?
Placing your solar panels north is often the best, but not necessarily. Rust wipes appear to actually have different seasons or locations, and so the sun will path differently in the sky. You can tell it's time to place your solar panels north when the sun is setting and you see it actually setting closer to northwest than west. The opposite is true if the sun is more tilted towards the south. It seems a northern tilting sun is more common. Simply adjust accordingly and you'll generate the best power. If you do it incorrectly, the wrong side will generate significantly less power. If you're unsure place the solar panel facing east or west as it will generate a good amount, just not the highest. Here is the rWm generation estimate, averaged over the entire day (including nighttime), for a map when the sun tilts to the north:
- N: 12 rWm
- W: 9.4 rWm
- E: 8.3 rWm
- S: 3.2 rWm
This means that facing an optimal direction, a solar panel will average an output of 12 power. Factor in the 80% efficiency batteries operate at and unfortunately, a solar panel cannot keep an auto turret running 24/7. However, it may be possible to find just the perfect placement for a specific sun's path so that it will.
Using Wind Turbines Optimally
Wind turbines generate a lot more power than solar panels and are ideal for people with higher energy needs. In particular for those looking to use a lot of auto-turrets. However, they're a little bit more overhead to use given a few points:
- They're quite large. They can be placed on a square or 2 triangles, but block more space around it.
- They generate more energy when placed higher in the sky and with fewer nearby obstacles, meaning you may need to build upwards above your base to benefit the most. This incurs additional cost and upkeep.
They're certainly not ideal for a typical solo 2x2 base, but they can output as high as 150 rWm so they're really the only option for high power usage activities. However, getting the wind turbine to reach 150 or even above 100 may require building both pretty highly and getting some luck in the weather. Wind turbines fluctuate in their power output throughout the day and the exact reasons for this aren't entirely known. It could be the wind, it could be terrain or biome, could be purely random. However, to give you an idea of the type of power output you can reach I built wind turbines at various heights and recorded their average output over 30 minutes. Refer to the table below.
Wind Turbine Power Output by Height
|Height||Average rWm||In Battery|
Height Impact on Power Output
From the above test, you can conclude that each additional floor upwards you build your wind turbine you can expect to get about 2–4 more power. Eventually, you'll hit the cap of 150 power and not benefit from going higher, though you may be more limited by stability. I'll also note that this test may not factor in longer wind patterns, seasons, or biomes that could otherwise affect the power generation of a wind turbine in a less clear or unknown way.
It's also important to note that while building significantly higher will get you more power, it will also cost more to build the wall frames and add meaningfully to your upkeep. In this respect, you ought to be mindful as it may be more cost-effective to have multiple wind turbines at lower heights or even compensate with a few solar panels. If you consider that a solar panel costs 1 tech trash and 5 high-quality metal but generates around 10 rWm average over the day it's actually decently efficient. Getting 10 more rWm out of a wind turbine will cost you 300 wood, 1800 stone, and add a percentage of that cost to your upkeep in addition to increasing your total upkeep percentage due to the increase in building blocks. Of course, multiple solar panels can get tedious and the root combiners to put them all together aren't free but just be mindful of the all-in cost of power generation.
The difference between using your solar panels and wind turbines optimally can be significant, so be sure to make the most out of the resources you have. Additionally, wind turbines aren't necessarily across the board better than solar panels after considering added upkeep despite their obvious convenience advantage at high power needs. I personally keep a handful of extra root combiners floating around and pop in either solar panels or wind turbines as I get or need them. I also avoid building my wind turbines very high to manage the upkeep impact. Usually just high enough to avoid damage from patrol helicopters or collisions with allies on minicopters.