What you may be able to use to build a useful solar panel:
"Broken" solar cells. They are very cheap and they work, they are
just randomly shaped. They are usually crystalline silicon ones,
which ALWAYS (ha!) look broken even when they are not.
Surplus solar cells. Amorphous silicon printed on glass (check) are
excellent, usually producing more than a volt, and much sturdier
than the thin ones that break in bulk quantities. If these break, we
can fix them, usually.
Indium Copper Selenide Cells. These are "new" and are conveniently
sold as glass tiles with easy to solder tabs.
Any of the above, sold as cells prepared for assembly into panels;
in other words, complete and solder - ready or with wires and tabs.
(I will explain how to prepare inferior quality cells in this instructable.)
Wire Glue - There is already another instructable for using wire glue
on Broken solar cells. (link)
Brass extrusions, bracket |_| shaped - Convenient for connecting to glass cells.
Soldering Iron - low wattage
Small flat-head screwdriver
Thin (around 20 AWG or less) stranded copper wire
Lamp cord or Speaker Wire
Deep Picture Frames or Shadow Boxes (Enclosure)
-look for imported frames at the El Cheapo store and pray a machine made them
Acrylic/Lexan/Plexiglas/Etc clear polymer sheets
Router or Dremel to cut out the middle of one out of three sheets
RTV (Silicone Glue) - or :
High Temperature Hot Melt Glue (Caution-you don't want the sun to melt it!)
Rectifier Diode such as 1N4001 or 1N4004
Voltage doubler or multiplier circuits (you can make) to increase voltage output.
-examples: ICL7660, MAX1044, MAX232, etc.
Wide Sticky Tape
Double Sticky Foam Tape
Rechargeable Nickel Batteries
Gel Cells or Car Battery (you got one, might as well use it until it's useless)
-Li Ion not recommended because they are harder to charge
Analog volt meter (only because it doesn't need batteries like a digital one)
AC Inverter - if you are charging a powerful battery and would occasionally
run some mains-powered appliance. Some UPS's can be easily modified to
be inverters, if they can be turned on after a power failure.
Broken Solar Cells:Herbach and RademanSilicon SolarElectronic Goldmine
Glass (Amorphous) Solar Cells:Electronic Goldmine
Note:Other links here may also supply Glass Solar Cells
Indium Copper Selenide Cells:All ElectronicsEdmund ScientificElectronic Goldmine
Cheap weather damaged solar powered outdoor night lights
-(common failures are circuit corrosion and defective batteries, not the solar cells)
Defective solar calculators, solar charged flashlights, etc.
Perhaps a little off topic:
For a reasonably good deal on Complete and Useful Solar Panels I recommend
"Solar Car Battery Chargers" that are about 1 or 2 watts and between $20 and $30,
whenever an opportunity to get some arises. But those are what I am trying to show
how to Make an approximate equivalent of.