Star Wars TIE Fighters Use Solar Panel Technology

The TIE (twin ion engine) fighter was the signature one-man fighter used by the Galactic Empire, and now the First Order. A fact that you may not know about this fighter is that its wings are actually covered by solar panels.

In fact, the TIE fighter’s black wings contain twelve solar panels (source: Wookiepedia). The energy collected by these panels go to the fighter’s energy collection hub which feeds its engines and laser cannons.

Star Wars

TIE fighter schematic / Image Credit:

So how can the TIE fighter function on only solar panels? One factor is that the TIE lacked core systems such as shields and hyperdrives so it doesn’t burn through as much power as a more advanced fighter such as the X-wing. Another factor is that the in the Star Wars universe, the TIE fighters were only deployed for short range combat missions so they don’t need a large power generator to sustain them for prolonged campaigns..

Contrast this with the rebellion/resistance one-man fighters which were capable of hyperspace travel and carry multiple torpedoes.

Star Wars

X-wings can travel in hyperspace / Image Credit:

While the math behind the power production to utilization ratio of the TIE fighter is questionable, we will put our trust in Lucasfilm.

*Main image credit: Lucasfilm

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