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.
- 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.
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.