Solar Panels | Clyde Space | Glasgow

By: Clyde Space  11-11-2011
Keywords: Solar Panels, solar panel, Power Systems

Solar Panels are typcially the most expensive subsystems on a spacecraft. This expense is due to a number of factors including; the cost of the solar cells, the cost of the materials used in the solar panel maunfacturing process and the cost of the labour involved in the design and production of the panels.

Main Features

  • Solar panel sizes from as small as 20mm x 20mm to 1m x 1m. 
  • Our assembly processes are tried and tested on Carbon Fibre composite, Aluminium and PCB substrates.
  • Clyde Space has developed a low-cost assembly method based on traditional techniques using heritage, space-qualified materials.
  • All of our solar panels are assembled to a high quality and inspected to ESA standard. 
  • We keep stock of Spectrolab high efficiency solar cells enabling us to provide fast, quality, custom solutions (we have supplied custom panels as fast as 4 days).
  • Our PCB substrates can incorporate MTQ coils and other sensors (temperature sensors are standard fit).
  • Coarse and fine sun sensor on panel options available.
  • Harnesses available in lengths; 30cm, 60cm & custom.
  • Clyde Space also has capability to coverglass and interconnect bare solar cells, such as from Azur Space.

SmallSat Solar Panel Overview

Clyde Space solar array design and manufacturing techniques have been developed based on traditional solar array assembly techniques, but adapted to reduce assembly costs in order to meet the tighter budget needs of the small satellite community.

Unlike most solar panel manufacturers, Clyde Space also is also known for its high performance small satellite electrical power systems and batteries.  This enables us to understand customer requirements and to advise on solar array configuration to achieve optimum power levels.

Manufacturing Capability

The Clyde Space capability extends to solar panels of approximately 1000mm x 1000mm and our design team will work with you to ensure that the solar panel design is robust and optimised for your mission.  We supply 3D CAD models as standard to accelerate your design process.

Our laydown technique allows us to use a variety of cell sizes and types without the need to modify our assembly equipment and jigs.  We have developed and tested processes using both soldering and welding of interconnects and inter-cell connections, which we deploy according to cell type and qualification status.

We have supplied CubeSat solar panels for about 50 CubeSats to date. Our solar panels are typically multilayer Printed Circuit Board (PCB) substrates with a space rated Kapton facesheet. 
There are many advantages to using PCB and our experience with this approach means that we have a slick, well proven technique.  To ensure good thermal design, we use copper fill on the top and bottom layers and flood the underside of the cells with vias for thermal conductivity purposes.  There is no wiring on our panels and they produce a minimal magnetic field.

All of our solar panels have temperature sensors, and many solar panels have been delivered with magnetorquers embedded.  We can also include coarse and fine sunsensors.  Solar panels with cut-outs and bespoke sensors easily accommodated.

For CubeSat missions requiring more power, we have developed self-contained deployable solar panels that require no spacecraft structure modification.  Our deployed panels are available with cells on one or both faces.  They have an active hold-down mechanism incorporating a thermal knife and timed driver. 

Total power generation ability of each solar panel product is shown in the table above along with MTQ performance data.

Keywords: Electrical Power, Electrical Power Systems, Power Systems, solar array, solar panel, Solar Panels

Other products and services from Clyde Space


CubeSat | EPS | Power Systems | ADCS | Structures | Solar Panels

Our solutions include complete or part Power Conditioning and Distribution Systems, Lithium Polymer Batteries, Solar Arrays and DC-DC Converters. In addition to our off-the-shelf products, Clyde Space has a wide selection of heritage systems for non-standard spacecraft. Our four main small satellite power system products are: SmallGEO Power; SmallSat Power; NanoSat Power; CubeSat Power.


Electrical Power Systems

We also offer off-the-shelf power system products which have excellent performance specifications and extensive flight heritage. The designs are modular and have the flexibility to be easily configured to meet the requirements of bespoke projects. Clyde Space produce tailored Electrical Power Systems which are designed to your specifications.


DC-DC Converters

One is designed for Low Earth Orbiting small satellite applications, utilising COTS components and the other is for applications requiring very high reliability and radiation tolerances up to 100krads - note that this converter range can also be produced to 100krads ITAR free.


Spacecraft Batteries | Clyde Space

The cells that we have selected for space use have undergone extensive evaluation, in collaboration with ESA, to assess their suitability for the space environment - including leak and bulge tests. Our battery systems have integrated balancing circuitry, over-voltage and under-voltage protection, plus over-current protection via a PTC which can be replaced easily in case of short circuit.


SmallGEO Power | Clyde Space

The power system incorporates a number of main elements, including a 16 section Sequential Switching Shunt Regulator, hot redundant Battery Discharge Regulators, hot redundant Battery Charge Regulators and Power Distribution Module. For missions with power hungry payloads, in its unmodified form, our CommSat power system can manage over 40A at a regulated 50V.



This is due to the high quality systems and excellent customer service that we produce consistently for all of our customers. Over 40% of all CubeSat missions fly Clyde Space hardware, more than any other vendor. Clyde Space was the first space company to have an online CubeSat shop. Add CubeSat to basket and buy with your credit card'.