I make solar cells and solar panels for a living. I highly suggest making your own panel as others have stated it allows you alot of flexibilty in shape. Things to keep in mind:
1) Generally each cell will produce about 0.5VDC no matter the size
2) Amperage comes from the area of the cells
3) The cooler the cells the more efficient. They do get hot at peak power
4) Make sure the substrate the cells are mounted to is very rigid. Multi-crystaline cells do not like flexing too much. The thinner the cell the more flexible they are.
5) In a well made panel with minimal flexure the main point of failure are your electrical connections.
6) Not all cells are created equally. Multi-crystaline cells vary from 12% to 19% and higher. It depends on the processes used to make the cells, the grade of silicon used, and the quality/size of the collection lines.
Good luck and post pics!
Last edited by nickmerc; 08-18-2011 at 05:56 AM.