I am very much against nerfing solar armor. If we liken the fuel mechanic in Transcendence to the food consumption of other roguelikes, the system we have is a lot harsher, in that:
The consumption rate is very high
Consumption increases as the player equips better items
Performing actions (e.g. attacking) burns extra fuel
Fuel is quite expensive and takes up a lot of inventory space
The result is that I don't want to bother with many parts of the game. There were certainly times in my experience where a quest's rewards do not even cover the fuel burned to complete it (all but certain if I'm required to cross the space between a binary system). For that reason, I go for solar armor whenever I can; and it's far from an easy solution. The armor's defense stats are abysmal, and with the existence of shield busting weapons, the trade-off is more than enough IMO. To use solar armor means I'll need to be experienced enough with the game to know how strong the enemies can get as the systems progress, and fly a lot more carefully as many of the nastier weapons can one-shot a solar-equipped ship even with a decent shield. This is the exact opposite of easy and repetitive.
... If you want your game to be fun, don't allow players to improve their chances of winning via easy, repetitive actions.
I don't agree with this statement at all. A game can certainly let players improve their odds of winning through easy and repetitive tasks, it just can't be the best
way. No one plays a game to do the repetitive stuff, but if a player deems the grind can improve the chances that he'll get to the more interesting parts, the game should definitely not prohibit that. I remember mining asteroids when I was new to the game; it was low risk, low reward, and quite boring, but with that I can reliably advance through the game and gradually learn the more advanced stuff and that you don't really need to mine. Nevertheless, it's a nice fallback if none of the more exciting opportunities present themselves, and the game should not dictate if the player should or should not exploit it.