Subnautica Solar Panel

Subnautica, an underwater adventure game set in alien ocean planets, offers a unique blend of exploration, resource gathering, and survival elements. As a player, one of the critical aspects of the game is understanding and managing your power resources. This can mean the difference between merely surviving and thriving in the game’s vast, richly detailed aquatic environment.

Among various power sources available, solar panels present an accessible, renewable energy source for players starting in the game. These panels, when built and installed correctly, can provide a steady power supply for your underwater base, even at considerable depths. However, like any power source, they come with their limitations, particularly when used underwater.

This comprehensive guide seeks to illuminate every aspect of solar panels in Subnautica. From understanding their workings, assessing their advantages and limitations, to tips on maximizing their efficiency – this article aims to be your go-to resource.

The Role of Power in Subnautica

Power in Subnautica is not merely an additional gameplay feature; it is a vital necessity. Essential elements like oxygen supply, base operations, crafting, and defensive mechanisms all hinge on having a reliable power source. Depending on the power source used, it can be a challenging task to maintain a steady power supply, especially when operating from an underwater base.

Subnautica Solar Panel

Understanding Solar Panels in Subnautica

Solar panels in Subnautica provide an early and renewable power source for players. They convert sunlight into electricity, powering your base’s appliances and systems. When installed on the surface, they can generate a steady power supply during the day. Underwater, their efficiency depends on depth, clarity of water, and daylight availability.

Building and Installing Underwater Solar Panels

Building a solar panel in Subnautica requires two titanium and two quartz, which are relatively easy to find near the starting point. The crafting process takes place in the Habitat Builder tool, under the “Power” tab. Once built, the solar panels can be installed on any base module or directly on the seabed. However, the placement of these panels significantly affects their efficiency.

Effect of Water Depth on Solar Panel Efficiency

The depth at which you install your solar panels is crucial. As a rule of thumb, the deeper you install the solar panel, the less efficient it becomes. This is because the ocean’s water absorbs sunlight, reducing the amount that reaches your solar panels. After a depth of about 200 meters, solar panels cease to function altogether, regardless of the time of day or water clarity.

Advantages of Underwater Solar Panels

Despite their limitations, underwater solar panels offer several advantages. They are a renewable energy source, meaning they do not deplete the game’s resources. They also require low maintenance once installed, reducing the need for constant resource gathering and crafting. Additionally, they provide a steady power supply during the day, which can be stored for use during the night or during explorations.

Subnautica Solar Panel

Limitations of Underwater Solar Panels

Solar panels, however, are not without their drawbacks. Their dependence on sunlight means they only generate power during the day, and their output decreases during cloudy weather. Additionally, as mentioned earlier, their efficiency decreases with increasing depth, limiting their usefulness for deeper bases.

Strategies to Maximize Efficiency of Underwater Solar Panels

To maximize the efficiency of your solar panels, consider placing them at the shallowest depth possible, where the sunlight is most abundant. You could also link multiple solar panels to increase your power output. Additionally, using power cells and batteries, you can store excess power generated during the day for use during the night or during periods of low sunlight.

Alternatives to Solar Panels

While solar panels are an excellent early-game power source, they may not suffice as your base grows or as you delve deeper. For such scenarios, Subnautica offers alternatives like Bioreactors, Thermal Plants, and Nuclear Reactors.

Bioreactors produce power by consuming organic material, making them suitable for deep-sea bases where sunlight does not reach. Thermal plants, on the other hand, generate power from heat, making them ideal for bases near thermal vents. Lastly, Nuclear Reactors offer the highest power output but require rare and dangerous materials.

Tips and Tricks for Managing Underwater Power

Managing your power resources effectively can significantly enhance your Subnautica experience. Balancing different power sources can ensure a steady power supply. For instance, you can combine solar panels with bioreactors: the panels can provide power during the day, while the bioreactor can take over during the night or when the panels’ output is low.

Efficient power storage is another crucial aspect. Power cells and batteries can store excess power for later use, helping you manage power outages or periods of high power demand. Lastly, remember to turn off non-essential base systems when not in use to conserve power.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many solar panels do I need for my base in Subnautica?

The number of solar panels you need depends on your power consumption. However, it’s a good idea to have multiple solar panels to ensure a steady power supply.

Can solar panels work at night in Subnautica?

Solar panels do not generate power at night. However, any power generated during the day is stored and can be used at night.

Can solar panels work at great depths in Subnautica?

Solar panels’ efficiency decreases with increasing depth and stops entirely beyond a depth of about 200 meters. For deeper bases, consider using other power sources like bioreactors or thermal plants.


Mastering power management is an essential part of your Subnautica journey. Solar panels, despite their limitations, can provide a reliable, renewable energy source, particularly for early game and shallow bases. Understanding their operation, knowing how to maximize their efficiency, and balancing them with other power sources can significantly enhance your gameplay experience.

As you delve deeper and your base grows, don’t shy away from exploring and mastering the other power sources Subnautica has to offer. After all, the depth of your exploration in this alien ocean world is only as good as your power supply. Embrace the challenge, and let your adventure begin.

I'm Louise, the Editor-in-Chief at With a keen eye for detail and an unwavering passion for home enhancement, I curate and oversee content that strikes the perfect balance between creativity and practicality. Home improvement is more than just a task for me—it's about breathing new life into spaces. Together, let's make your home improvement dreams a reality.

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