Breaking solar cells into pieces

Dear Experts,

I am currently trying to build a solar powered plane. As solar cell, I choose Sunpower C60 monocrystalline cells due its high efficiency and low price.

However, due it's big size (12.5cm X 12.5cm), it seems that I won't be able to use it efficiently. For example, if my plane wing is  200cm X 20cm (length X width), then maximum area I can cover with solar cell is 200cm X 12.5cm, which will lead 200cm X 7.5cm of unused area.

Now my question, can I break these solar cells into small pieces, e.g. one solar cell into two 12.5cm X 6.25cm etc? Any idea, suggestion?

I tried googling but was unable to find any useful solution. Thanks in advance.


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  • Absolutely!! Its super easy to cut Sunpower cells once you get the hang of it. You can do it with a Dremel, laser cutter or any other number of methods. In terms of efficiency, the ones of Alibaba (now plenty available on ebay) are all genuine Sunpower, usually from their Philippines fab plant via China. They are all great cells and the easiest kind of cells to cut - not as brittle as typical font & back connection cells.



  • The way I look at it is, if you don't actually break any of the cells, you can separate them to the desired separation and connect them with the proper wires and they'll still carry the gathered power to your drone hardware.

    I don't know as much as I could on the subject, but I'm just guessing

  • Hi,

    I am not an expert, but the short answer is NO, I am really sure it is NO, especially for monocrystalline cells you cant realistically cut them.

    I doubt that the cells will actually perform to the claimed 24% efficiency, but if they do that is potentially a very good price for them.

    They didn't seem to state the cell weight, but judging on the shipping weight the per cell weight seems like it would be attractive.

    If you are really serious about this, you ought to consider making an FPV whose wing is the size that will favorably mount the cells in the most efficient way.

    This is a big project and the liklihood of a successful outcome is not high but others have succeeded and if you can actually get 24% you just might.

    I strongly suggest that you carry little or no battery or a battery only for your receiver and control servos, because storing energy for continued flight is generally a losing proposition even at 24% efficiency.

    Make your plane as light as possible and using something with good soaring capabilities will help.

    Also selecting a light small high efficiency brushless main drive motor is essential.

    All that said, it is hard to get enough energy out of solar cells to maintain flight even in ideal full sun conditions.

    But it can be done.

    Best of Luck,


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