The TIE fighter has long supposed to have had solar panels on it (even though it makes little sense given most of the time they wouldn't be able to provide the power required). However the new First Order TIE fighter that we see in the sequel trilogy has whitish-grey solar panels. Surely these should reflect solar radiation making them basically completely useless?

Is there some snippet of information in one of the books that explains this, or is there perhaps some real-world technology being developed with a look?

  • 6
    They work very well, thank you for asking.
    – Valorum
    Feb 10 '18 at 20:52
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    Solar radiation covers a spectrum way wider than the narrow visible-light band.
    – SJuan76
    Feb 10 '18 at 20:55
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    Not an in universe answer, but white solar panels are a thing.
    – DqwertyC
    Feb 10 '18 at 20:59
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    Even assuming the panels in question really are generating power (which seems unlikely) they would almost certainly not be using visible light which as you say just wouldn't provide enough power to be useful. They'll be sucking power out of hyperspace or something, in which case the colour is irrelevant. Feb 10 '18 at 22:42
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    @Naib, presumably the hyperspace side of the panels are black. :-) Feb 11 '18 at 18:50

The cross-section in Star Wars: Complete Vehicles (2021) labels the white solar panels only as "Ultra-high-efficiency girondium-colium solar cells", and says that "these latest models boast improved solar cells and higher-capacity converters, the products of Imperial research conducted for the TIE Advanced program." This may indicate that the answer is due to some property of the (fictional) elements or molecules 'girondium' and 'colium'.

Note, however, that the illustration of the TIE Bomber from the same source has an identical label on its black solar panels, so it appears that the combination of girondium and colium comes in multiple colors.

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