Short circuits have been detected in the solar panels of several ESA-telecommunication satellites (e.g. Marecs A). Micrometeorite and space debris impacts are considered as one of the possible causes. Therefore, a micrometeorite simulation program has been initiated to study damage phenomena and failure mechanisms of solar panels under hypervelocity impact conditions. A first experimental study demonstrated that transient as well as permanent short circuits can be produced by particle impact. Even are discharges can be initiated under realistic electrical power conditions. There is evidence that failures caused by impact induced short circuits can be minimized by approving the geometrical arrangement of the panels and by optimizing the electrical circuitry.