Solar Cell Huge - 5.2W

High quality, high output, full enclosed solar cell with barrel plug termination. This is a custom cell produced for SparkFun - not a small toy surplus item! This unit is rated for 8V open voltage and 650mA short circuit. We actually took a random unit outside and measured 9.55V open voltage and 550mA short circuit.

Termination is a 5.5mm x 2.1mm barrel plug, center positive on a 2m cable. Mates directly with many of our development boards. Monocrystalline high efficiency cells at 15-15.2%. Unit has a clear epoxy coating with hard-board backing. Robust sealing for out door applications!

Check out this iPhone Charger!

  • 180x220mm (7.09x8.66")

Solar Cell Huge - 5.2W Product Help and Resources

Core Skill: Electrical Prototyping

If it requires power, you need to know how much, what all the pins do, and how to hook it up. You may need to reference datasheets, schematics, and know the ins and outs of electronics.

1 Electrical Prototyping

Skill Level: Noob - You don't need to reference a datasheet, but you will need to know basic power requirements.
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Looking for answers to technical questions?

We welcome your comments and suggestions below. However, if you are looking for solutions to technical questions please see our Technical Assistance page.

  • Tycho Vhargon / about 14 years ago / 4

    Does this work in a vacuum? (the kind without air, not the cleaning kind)

    • After 3 years of thinking about it, I think I have arrived at an answer.

      Does this work in a vacuum?

      Yes. PV uses energy from photons (aka light). Light does not need air to impart energy (see photoelectric/photovoltaic effect).

    • KloudVine / about 10 years ago / 1

      This specific module maybe,maybe not Vacuum ratings are tricky. Electrically it would work, physically maybe not.

    • alexw / about 10 years ago / 1

      Odd question. One caveat that comes to mind is that, yes, it will work (as others say), provided there isn't some internal sealed cavity currently filled with air that could pop (probably isn't), but solar panels don't like to be especially hot, and in a vacuum there'd be no convective or conductive avenue for cooling. In sun, the panel will likely get quite hot, maybe to the point of seriously decreased efficiency, maybe to the point of failure.

      Did you ever try it? Do you have experimental results for us?!

      • Tycho Vhargon / about 10 years ago / 1

        Don't remember why I asked this, I was never planning on building a high altitude balloon or anything.

        That is fascinating about heat conductivity, though. I had never thought about that. Thanks for the info.

    • N8B / about 14 years ago / 1

      Well, the first application of PV was by the Aerospace industry. So I would imagine it would work. No reasons it would not work are coming to mind. No guarantees from our end though.

      • Member #249201 / about 9 years ago / 1

        These cells are not designed to deal with the physical forces of a vacuum. It would be hit or miss if they break when the vacuum is applied. The cells used in aerospace do not have epoxy attached to the face of them. Even then they go through vacuum cycle testing and a % of those don't survive. But hey these are cheap so give it a try.

  • Daniel Castelo da Silva / about 11 years ago / 3

    Hi, What is the weight of that solar cell?

  • Fredjikrang / about 15 years ago / 3

    Any chance we could get a weight on this?

  • does Sparkfun have a Big Red box for this too?

  • uberlinuxguy / about 9 years ago / 1

    I believe the answer is yes, but might depend on internal wiring, but can someone verify if these (and maybe the other panels SparkFun sells) can be cabled in series (to up the voltage) and/or parallel (to up the amperage?)

  • Member #76996 / about 9 years ago / 1

    I love Sparkfun, but I'm really pissed off that they're as lazy (dishonest?) as everyone else that sells solar cells like this, with respect to the power rating. Power = V * I (instantaneous); Power != open circuit voltage * short circuit current. In either case of open circuit or short circuit Power = 0. Open circuit Voltage 8V * Open circuit current 0A = 0 W Short Circuit voltage 0V * short circuit current 0.65A = 0W Please post more realistic ratings, i.e. actual current and voltage at peak power, if not current vs. voltage curve.

  • Member #529190 / about 10 years ago / 1

    What Lipo Charger/booster do you recommend? and which battery? I would like to use it for an autonomous system (battery + arduino). The link in the comments don't work. This link works: but how can I easely plug an arduino? My goal is to made the minimum of manufacturing (for children for exemple). Thank you very much!

  • Member #519988 / about 10 years ago / 1

    Anyone with idea of the weight of this solar cell?

  • Member #470157 / about 10 years ago / 1

    Got one and measured today, clear sky, 60F. Allowed a few minutes to warm and stabilize. Measured 9.62V Voc, 640ma Isc. Using a rough estimate of 0.7 for power factor gives maximum of 4.3W. We make a range of smartphone & universal charging products, which accept a wide range of inputs including solar modules - this one works fine.

  • Member #470157 / about 10 years ago / 1

    The best case real power output of this is 9.550.550.7, to get maximum power point in watts, or 3.7watts. You need to use that 0.7 factor on all these modules where they indicate Voc (open circuit voltage) and Isc (short circuit current). Please modify your listings - you don't want customers to be disappointed when they found out they aren't that high power.

  • odu / about 11 years ago / 1

    What is the current and voltage at its maximum power point? How many cells are on it? Hard to tell from the photo. Are there 16 cells or 32 smaller ones with pairs wired in parallel?

  • kmurphy / about 12 years ago / 1

    Two questions: Can we get some data on output power vs various weather conditions? Is the hard-board backing suitable to be left out in the rain?

  • Seth K / about 13 years ago / 1

    I'm also thinking of using this for backpacking/outdoorsy stuff.
    What exactly is the "hard-board backing"? I'm hoping to glue some kind of tether to it so I can hang it off the back of my pack when I'm walking around.

  • Member #189321 / about 13 years ago / 1

    so by using multiple cells can you increase multiply the 550mA discharge rate by the number of cells?

  • syndicated / about 14 years ago / 1

    Since there's no datasheet posted and some people seem interested:
    I can get you an IV Curve, Isc, Voc, Pmax, Imp, Vmp, FF, efficiency, and temp. coefficients. Just send me whatever modules or cells you want data for with return shipping.

  • Senorslugworth / about 14 years ago / 1

    Will anyone recommend a battery to charge using this panel?

  • BubbaG / about 14 years ago / 1

    What is the depth of this unit?

    • N8B / about 14 years ago / 1

      The small box on the back side is 8.3mm from the top of the panel to the end of the box. The panel itself is 3.2mm thick.

  • Senorslugworth / about 14 years ago / 1

    Is there a good way to mount it?

    • Pearce / about 14 years ago / 1

      Unfortunately it doesn't have much in the ways of mounting hardware. If you have a table saw handy (not assuming everyone does, just a suggestion) it'd fit pretty well in a groove-cut wood frame.

      • Senorslugworth / about 14 years ago / 1

        Ended up using clear packaging tape to mount it to the inside of a window. Plan on sandwiching the panel between a sheet of plexiglass and a board for the next application.

  • BT / about 14 years ago / 1

    You've linked to the iPhone charger 'instructable' but the output of this is ~8v and the max input for the LiPo charger is 7 volts. Is the output voltage of this panel under load low enough to use the LiPoly charger? I'd suspect yes, but maybe someone has tried it and has a more informed answer...

  • JeremyL / about 14 years ago / 1

    Any idea on stock status? Thanks.

  • Tshrove / about 14 years ago / 1

    Any chance we may know when these will be back in stock?

  • DougB / about 14 years ago / 1

    Just ordered one. I'm going to be building a solar charger for my iPhone. An "on-the-fly" one, with no batteries. If I feel the need, I may implement a li-ion battery/charger into the design later.
    But yeah, I'm going to be using it for hiking/camping/outdoor trips when I will be away from electricity for extended periods of time. Basically - Charge during the day (Solar Cell either mounted to my backpack/gear or on top of a tent) then have the change for later in the afternoon/evening to check email, browse the web, etc.
    Oh by the way - For the people who own(ed) one of these, is it element-resistant? Like can it withstand some wetness/rain? If not Ill just cover it in plastic and what not.

    • Member #519988 / about 10 years ago / 1

      Hi, What is the weight of this solar cell?

    • DougB / about 14 years ago / 1

      Ignore the element-resistant question lol. Just realized that it said epoxy coated in the description.

  • PhoenixPhotoBooths / about 14 years ago / 1

    I'd really like to know the weight of this panel. Does anyone have one that they can put on a scale?

  • jur / about 14 years ago / 1

    According to sparkfun team, it should come in around November 27th. :)

  • glagnar / about 14 years ago / 1

    Any info on when/if this will be available again?

  • That's actually a solar panel. But anyway, is it weatherproof? And is there a good way to mount it?

  • JimS / about 15 years ago / 1

    It would be helpful if you included a rough wattage for solar panels. Based on its area and efficiency this one is probably capable of something like 5 watts in full sunshine.

    • Vexer / about 14 years ago / 3

      Multiplying the current and voltage will give you wattage. 8V x .650A = 5.2 Watts.

      • csloser / about 14 years ago / 5

        Not quite. That is the short circuit current and the open circuit voltage -- it can't do both at the same time. The sweet spot (called the max power point) is somewhere in between and will have both less current than short circuit and less voltage than open circuit.

        • SiXiam / about 13 years ago / 1

          You may be thinking of AC wattage, which has a power factor in the calculation. DC wattage is just like Vexer said: Volts * Amps.

          • HonestA / about 13 years ago / 3

            No, csloser is definitely right. Solar cells have a maximum power sweet-spot (Pmax). You can never draw the short-circuit current (Isc) at the open-circuit voltage (Voc). Pmax < Voc*Isc.

            • Chris Eiffel / about 13 years ago / 2

              You're right. The reason is because the solar cell has an internal resistance. You get max power when then resistance of the load circuit resistance is equal to the internal resistance.

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