Um, not so easy.
I bought these Polycrystalline solar cells the other day and was positive I could figure out a way to cut them. My thinking was that I would be able to use one of several ways to do it:
1. Use an exacto blade to make repeated marks on the cell until broke. Result: FAIL
2. Securely clamp solar cell along the cut line and “snap” unwanted piece off. Result: FAIL
3. Use a dremmel on its lowest setting to slowly cut through the solar cell. Result: SUPER FAIL
This was a very frustrating process. I even made a few stabs at cutting them with the laser cutter. No even a laser cutter can touch these things! The solar cells are so brittle. On two different occasions, a fellow classmate stopped by to see what I was doing and while they were handling the cells they broke (the cells, not the people). These cells are super thin and have just about no flexibility. It’s really quite amazing.
This just about killed my idea for cutting solar cells for my sculpture but while I was cursing the solar gods one of those two solar-cell-breaking-classmates brought up some solar cells we had used in our Sustainable Energy class a few semesters back and suggested I use those. These cells are smaller and made of glass-encased thin film cells. I remembered them being not very powerful but it seems I was mistaken. At full sunlight they have been rated at almost 5 volts, over-performing their listed voltage (somewhere around 2.9 volts).
So it’s back to the floor where you find me quietly cutting solar cells or cursing aloud again, damning the solar gods.
Wish me luck.