How do solar panels supply energy for spacecraft?
DS1's Photovoltaics are made out of gallium arsenide (GaAs). GaAs is made into a cylinder that is then sliced into cells. These solar cells are then connected to the rest of the power network. Solar concentrators, made of clear plastic, are placed above them to focus the Sun's rays.
Figure from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory Deep Space One Web Site: http://nmp.jpl.nasa.gov/ds1/
More common in commercial, Earth-bound systems are crystaline silicon wafers, which are grown into cylinders and sliced to make cells. These are less efficient than GaAs cells, but are much cheaper.
What are solar panels?
How do solar concentrators work?
How do solar panels convert the Sun's energy into electricity?
Why do the solar panels look like wings?
Why do solar arrays need to be oriented towards the Sun?
How efficient are solar panels?
How much power does DS1 use? How much power does it produce?