Solar Panels are typically 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 manufacturing process and the cost of the labour involved in the design and production of the panels.
SmallSat Solar Panels
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.
CubeSat Solar Panels
Clyde Space has supplied CubeSat solar panels for about 50 CubeSats to date (Sept.13). Our solar panels are typically multi-layer 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.