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What's a good Outer Rim/fringe planet for solar farms?
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2016 4:33 pm    Post subject: What's a good Outer Rim/fringe planet for solar farms? Reply with quote

I'm looking for a good one to help fill out the back story of a character I'm building for some fanfic/RP'ing. She's a 16 year-old runaway who, much like Luke Skywalker, was tired of working on a farm (in her case it's a solar farm rather than a moisture farm) and stowed away aboard a freight liner to get away. So here are some of the characteristics I have in mind for the planet:

Must:

1. be terrestrial and in its star's habitable zone
2. be populated (not an ecumenopolis though, because of #3)
3. have large open spaces (fields, deserts, prairie, savannah, etc.) for solar farms
4. be located somewhere one of the big freight liners would visit (for any reason—my first instinct is somewhere along one of the smaller hyperlanes, or maybe the world is also being mined for something and the liners carry off the raw ore to be processed elsewhere)
5. be a fringe/Outer Rim world

Could:

1. be in tidal lock with its star so solar farms are productive 24/7 (like our moon is with us, though the planet would therefore also have a dark side)
2. be an original creation rather than an established planet
3. be sparsely rather than heavily populated (so the boredom/isolation could have driven her offworld)

Thanks in advance for any replies!
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2016 5:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My first question is this: what's a solar farm? Is that basically a private plot of land filled with solar panels in order to harvest electricity? Or is this a Star Wars term that I'm unfamiliar with denoting something else?

Also, as a result of your request, I thought about something I saw on an episode of the 2014 Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey: wind farms in the ocean, using giant propellors to generate electricity. That inspired me to come up with something I think is unique: a tidally locked ocean planet. In other words, Kamino if it was tidally locked. Which presents a few interesting questions:

What would a tidally locked ocean planet look like? Would one hemisphere be permanently frozen? According to my research, tidally locked ocean planet are possible, as speculated here: https://astrobites.org/2014/11/07/habitability-still-a-go-on-tidally-locked-terrestrial-exoplanets/ Take a look at a) in the diagram. That's a tidally locked waterworld. The dark side of the planet would have a thin (5.4 meters) sheet of ice, and any part of it that drifted into the day hemisphere would melt and become part of the day-side ocean.

Basically I'm thinking of a waterworld that is about 90-95% ocean, so there will still be some land for your solar farms (please clarify what those are, if you please, Error), but a good portion of the day side ocean(s) will have wind farms as well.

I'll post the SW Stats for this world, name et al., in a bit in my next post. Stay tuned.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2016 8:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, here's what I got so far:

Planet Name: Balneal
Type: Terrestrial
Temperature: Temperate (on day side)/Frigid (on night side)
Atmosphere: Type I
Hydrosphere: Moist (90% water)
Gravity: Standard
Terrain: Ocean, with plains and wetlands
Length of Day: N/A (Tidally locked)
Length of Year: 350 days
Sapient Species: 85% Humans, 10% Mon Cal, 5% Quarren
Starport: Standard
Population: 80,000
Planet Function: Agriculture, trade
Government: Imperial Governorship (previously federation)
Tech Level: Space
Major Exports: metals, foodstuffs
Major Imports: luxury goods, medicinal goods

System Name: Balneal
Star Name: Duqual (located in the Wyl Sector, close to the Listehol Run hyperspace route)

Orbital Bodies:

Name Planet Type Moons
Balneal Terrestrial 2
Vizren Gas Giant 16
Diquet Gas Giant 22

Capsule: Balneal was settled by the Old Republic only five centuries before the Battle of Yavin and may perhaps be a unique example in the galaxy’s stellar cartography: a tidally locked ocean planet with no axial tilt. As a result of having no axial tilt, Balneal does not have seasons. Furthermore, the night side of Balneal sports a few-meters thick layer of water ice floating over an entire hemisphere of ocean. Any ice that drifts into the day side quickly melts and joins the unfrozen ocean. Meanwhile, on the day side of Balneal, any ocean water that has evaporated due to the unrelenting sunlight drifts over to the night side of the planet and quickly freezes to become part of the night side’s ice layer. This feedback loop has created a global slipstream that makes Balneal significantly cooler than any tidally locked planet without a large hydrosphere. As a result, the day side of Balneal is relatively temperate. Once Republic scouts discovered this fact, several colony ships landed on Balneal’s two small continents in 504 BBY and began to settle the planet.
A small population of Mon Cals and Quarren have emigrated to Balneal since the colony’s founding. Most humans on Balneal appreciate the aquatic talents of the Quarren and Mon Cals, although there are some human malcontents who resent the “fish-heads.” Oddly enough, the Quarren and Mon Cals of Balneal tend to get along as they are so far removed from Mon Calamari’s politics.
Balneal’s only starport, Vardan Starport, is located on the western part of Balneal’s northwestern continent Silden. Travel between Silden and the southeastern continent of Chaklev is a simple, if somewhat time-consuming, matter as airspeeder travel between the two continents is lengthy but easily arranged.
Balneal mostly produces seafood for export to other planets in the Wyl sector. However, a number of solar farms exist on Chaklev which produce a variety of fruits and vegetables, which are considered delicacies among the mostly seafood-eating Balnealans. Also, as a result of the early colonists’ commitment to keeping Balneal free as possible of pollution, a number of wind farms were created off the coasts of Silden and Chaklev to help provide clean energy to the people of Balneal.
Significant mineral deposits were recently discovered on Balneal after the rise of Emperor Palpatine. As a result, an Imperial garrison has been established and the Imperial governor has begun to establish offshore mining operations. One particular operation destroyed a wind farm not far from Silden and has resulted in several brownouts at and around Vardan Spaceport and the surrounding communities. As a result, the population of Balneal (both human and non-human) is beginning to resent the new and unwanted presence of the Imperial troops. A few Balnealans are trying to seek their fortune offworld as result, while a few others are contemplating revolt.
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Last edited by Sutehp on Tue Dec 27, 2016 8:35 pm; edited 3 times in total
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2016 8:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A solar farm is basically a plot of land which has solar panels on it for the purpose of generating and selling electricity. The panels may be on the ground or on "stems" that come up from the ground, allowing for the growth of limited vegetation beneath them. The ones on stems can be aimed for maximum efficiency. You want the panel to be as perpendicular to the incoming rays as possible, so obviously the panels that lie flat on the ground will be cheaper but will also be less efficient unless it's a world which barely wobbles and the panels don't need to be moved.

They would require upkeep just like vaporators do, and although they are less complicated than vaporators, your average solar farm would have thousands of panels vs. a moisture farmer's less than 100 vaporators. It's not an existing SWU concept but one I thought of using for creative purposes after passing a real life solar farm today (we have quite a few in Michigan it seems, and windmills too.)

I think it would be most interesting if the world I'm looking for were tidally locked with its star, so I am thinking now that a unique world might be the way to go, because I don't know of any worlds like that in the SWU though they must exist. I have a blank sheet for new worlds like this so it shouldn't be too bad. I may get to it tonight even.

What I am envisioning is a planet which is tidally locked with its star at the furthest point in that star's habitable zone. That way it won't get too cooked. The solar farmers on the frontside (starward side?) sell their electricity to the massive mining operations on the backside, which are constantly visited by huge freight liners. The main export is ores of varying types used by other worlds to build their cities.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2016 8:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Error wrote:
A solar farm is basically a plot of land which has solar panels on it for the purpose of generating and selling electricity. The panels may be on the ground or on "stems" that come up from the ground, allowing for the growth of limited vegetation beneath them. The ones on stems can be aimed for maximum efficiency. You want the panel to be as perpendicular to the incoming rays as possible, so obviously the panels that lie flat on the ground will be cheaper but will also be less efficient unless it's a world which barely wobbles and the panels don't need to be moved.

They would require upkeep just like vaporators do, and although they are less complicated than vaporators, your average solar farm would have thousands of panels vs. a moisture farmer's less than 100 vaporators. It's not an existing SWU concept but one I thought of using for creative purposes after passing a real life solar farm today (we have quite a few in Michigan it seems, and windmills too.)


Yeah, I figured a solar farm was basically a bunch of solar panels. What threw me for a loop was figuring out how all that electricity would be stored for shipment offworld. I figure just handwave it by saying they store the energy in fuel cells?

Error wrote:
I think it would be most interesting if the world I'm looking for were tidally locked with its star, so I am thinking now that a unique world might be the way to go, because I don't know of any worlds like that in the SWU though they must exist. I have a blank sheet for new worlds like this so it shouldn't be too bad. I may get to it tonight even.

What I am envisioning is a planet which is tidally locked with its star at the furthest point in that star's habitable zone. That way it won't get too cooked. The solar farmers on the frontside (starward side?) sell their electricity to the massive mining operations on the backside, which are constantly visited by huge freight liners. The main export is ores of varying types used by other worlds to build their cities.


Yeah, I figured my slipstream created by the warm ocean and cold ice layer would be sufficient to cool down the planet enough to make it temperate. Who knows, it might even be scientifically plausible. Razz
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2016 9:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How about this:



Star

System: Iaron (yar-on)
Sector: Kanz
Region: Outer Rim
Star Name: Iaron
Star Type: Yellow giant
Orbital Bodies: 1. Iaron I (scorched ball)
2. Ataten (tidally locked terrestrial/rocky)
3. Iaron III (blue gas giant with 8 moons)
4. Iaron IV (orange and white gas giant with 12 moons)
5. Iaron V (dwarf planet)
6. Pabl (brown dwarf)


Planet

Name of Planet: Ataten (ah-tah-ten)
Other Names: Thisrock
Satellites/Rings: One rocky moon called Zirez
Orbital Position: 2
Type: Terrestrial/rocky
Diameter: 30,000 km
Temperature: Starward side: 10˚C to 80˚C; Backside: -100˚C to -200˚C
Atmosphere: Starward side: Type II; Backside: Type III
Hydrosphere: Moderate
Gravity: 1.4 standard
Terrain: Starward side: prairie mostly, with some mountains and a very cold ocean. Backside: bare rock with mountains and two large frozen oceans, one of which is connected to the one on the starward side.
Length of Day: n/a; tidally locked
Length of Year: n/a
Sapient Species: Humans (70%) Ugnaughts (20%) other (10%)
Other Organisms: Endemic plants but no animals; however some small pest mammals have become naturalized on the starward side
Tech Level: Hyperspace
Starport: Standard
Population: 2.2 billion
Planet Function(s): Mining world and erstwhile stop on the Veragi Trade Route
Government: “Provisional” Republic
Major Exports: Ore, rock
Major Imports: Mining equipment, parts for solar panels, medium tech, foodstuffs
History and/or Further Explanations: Ataten is tidally locked with its star, Iaron. This means that one side of the planet is always is facing the star (the inhabitants of Ataten refer to this as the “starward” side), and one side is always facing away from it (Ataten’s “backside”). While the starward side can be beautiful and temperate, the star Iaron is prone to radiation surges that can push Ataten’s surface temperatures on that side to 80˚C. These massive but predictable surges have necessitated that all of Ataten’s starward side population lives just below its surface in climate-controlled dwellings. Those who dwell on the backside tend to dwell on the surface, though they also require climate controls to maintain life support since the backside is extremely cold.

While there are roughly twenty or so large cities in total on Ataten’s starward side, most of its surface on that side is given over to prairie and savannah, which is covered by yellow and green grasses and gnarled trees endemic only to Ataten. This largely flat and unobstructed surface is roughly 18% covered by solar panel farms. A solar panel farm (“solar farm” or “s-farm” for short) is basically a large (some are hundreds of km²) plot of land which has solar panels on it for the purpose of generating and selling electricity to the monstrous mining facilities on the backside of the planet. These farms are run by solar “farmers” who are usually Humans or Ugnaughts of the families or communes that maintain the huge fields of panels. Since a solar panel is less complicated than a vaporator but there are infinitely more of them, more than 60% of the population of Ataten’s starward side work in some capacity with the solar farms.

The mining operation underway on Ataten’s backside churns out so much ore and rock that up to four full freight liners leave the planet every 18 standard hours. From Ataten, these freight liners travel to foundries and foundry worlds nearer the core. There the ores are smelted and metals for construction are made and shipped to budding cities the Galaxy over. There is a saying on Ataten: “We make up 1% of all civilization.” Though inaccurate, it alludes to the megatons of material which is strip-mined from the surface of the planet’s backside and robotically loaded aboard the largest freight liners in the Galaxy. Those who work on Ataten’s backside tend to work for two standard weeks and then they have two standard weeks off; during these off weeks, they may either remain on the backside or go to special relaxation colonies on the starward side. Some may even have residences there.

Politically, Ataten has always remained neutral, and has never been occupied as it has little strategic value. Even the raw ores and minerals mined from its backside are of low quality compared to those mined on other geologically-similar worlds. Ataten is overseen by a provisional government on the backside which seems to have gone from “provisional” to “entrenched” in the thousands of years the planet has been inhabited. There are strong property laws—the inhabitants of Ataten view ownership of goods or materials as a being’s greatest right, and tend to punish thieves more harshly than other adjacent worlds. Even Ataten’s starport is patrolled by a high number of policemen and women, and the planet’s government has a reputation as being tough on smugglers as well. This fact may well have led to the trend of most parties traveling the Veragi Trade Route skipping Ataten altogether; they would rather not brush shoulders with the law if they are “spacing dirty” as the axiom goes.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2016 2:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ok, not sure if im right on this, but i dont think it would be a worth while venture to own and operate a solar farm
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2016 9:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

thedemonapostle wrote:
ok, not sure if im right on this, but i dont think it would be a worth while venture to own and operate a solar farm

That all depends on how much you are getting paid for the electricity generated by the farm. On a world like ours which rotates and has tons of clouds, it is even apparently worth it, as there are huge solar farms in New Mexico, Texas, Arizona, and California. We even have them in Michigan. They're all owned by corporations (not the government) who are accountable to their shareholders to rake in profits. So obviously it is at least a moderately viable business venture on Earth, though they may get subsidies too. (I am no expert on solar farm law.)

If you are getting paid enough for the electricity you make to maintain your farm and still making a profit, it would absolutely be a worthwhile venture for someone in the SWU. I could even fiat that the solar panels used are of an even simpler design than we have here on earth and barely ever need to be repaired. The only thing you'd need to worry about is clearing them of obstructions (plants, blown debris, refuse, etc.)

I feel especially like solar farms on the starward side of a tidally locked planet that feed something on that planet's backside (just like the description I wrote above) make a lot of sense.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2016 10:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It would be the kind of thing you install on a tidally locked world; set them up in the day, visit them when you must, and pump power to the dusk and night sides. Now, on Earth, we also might use satellites for this purpose... stick it out in space, gather power without having to worry about the atmosphere, and beam it down to receiving stations on the ground. But I haven't seen any sign that Star Wars uses satellites.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2016 10:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MrNexx wrote:
But I haven't seen any sign that Star Wars uses satellites.


I never actually thought of that! And it's true; I haven't seen any indication of satellites anywhere in the SWU either. Now I have to research all the different types of real world satellites and their functions and wonder how they would port into the SWU....

Just when you thought the Empire's reach couldn't be any more frightening. How much do any of you want to bet that on Core worlds like Coruscant, the Empire has surveillance satellites to visually track suspected Rebels on the planets' surfaces? Hiding in the dangerous underlevels of city planets makes a bit more sense now....
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2016 5:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Despite not being explicitly mentioned, I think we can be fairly certain that any planet with a spaceport likely also has satellites. Also, we have seen beacons, which technically count as satellites in the strictest sense, since they are generally in geosynchronous orbits in order to guide incoming and outgoing spacecraft so they don't collide with one another.

EDIT: Consider also the variant of the Dyson sphere known as the "Dyson swarm," which could theoretically collect as much solar power from a star as you like and beam it via microwave to collectors either planetside or also out in space. In fact, I'd read the entire Wikipedia entry on Dyson spheres; it's fascinating.
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